General Questions Call: 406-283-2442 If You Find Asbestos Call: 406-291-5335 Before Renovating or Digging Call: 406-291-5335 Send ARP an Email Here
Asbestos is the name given to a group of six different ﬁbrous minerals that occur naturally in the environment. Asbestos ﬁbers are too small to be seen by the naked eye. They do not dissolve in water or evaporate. They are resistant to heat, ﬁre, and chemical or biological degradation. Asbestos is also used in many commercial products, including insulation, brake linings, and rooﬁng shingles.
Vermiculite was discovered in the Rainy Creek Mining District of Lincoln County, Montana, in 1916 by E.N. Alley. Alley formed the Zonolite Company and began commercial production of vermiculite in 1921. W.R. Grace purchased the mining operations in 1963. They greatly increased production of vermiculite which resulted in increased utilization of vermiculite in many forms of commercial products with one of the most popular being Zonolite insulation.
It was realized that the vermiculite ore bodies from the mine site called “Zonolite Mountain” contained amphibole asbestos at concentrations ranging up to nearly 100% in selected areas. Thus virtually all vermiculite from Zonolite Mountain was contaminated with the most toxic form of asbestos called Libby amphibole asbestos. These asbestiform mineral fibers have a chemical composition that transition between winchite, richterite, and tremolite, while also containing trace amounts of actinolite and ferro-edenite. The mineralogy of Libby amphibole asbestos is very unique both chemically and structurally. In addition, the Libby amphibole asbestos diseases have many unique characteristics. Learn More About Libby Amphibole Here
The two general types of asbestos are chrysotile (ﬁbrous serpentine) and amphibole. Chrysotile asbestos has long, ﬂexible ﬁbers. This type of asbestos is most commonly used in commercial products. Amphibole ﬁbers are brittle, have a rod or needle shape, and are less common in commercial products. Although exposure to both types of asbestos increases the likelihood of developing asbestos-related diseases, amphibole ﬁbers tend to stay in the lungs longer. They also are thought to increase the likelihood of illness, especially mesothelioma, to a greater extent than chrysotile asbestos.
Naturally occurring asbestos refers to those ﬁbrous minerals that are found in the rocks or soil in an area and released into the air by one of the following methods:
If naturally occurring asbestos is not disturbed and ﬁbers are not released into the air, then it is not a health risk. Asbestos is commonly found in ultramaﬁc rock, including serpentine rock, and near fault zones. The amount of asbestos typically present in these rocks ranges from less than 1% up to about 25%, and sometimes more. Asbestos can be released from ultramaﬁc and serpentine rock if the rock is broken or crushed.
In California, ultramaﬁc rock, including serpentine rock, is found in the Sierra foothills, the Klamath Mountains, and the Coast Ranges. This type of rock is present in at least 44 of California’s 58 counties. Not all ultramaﬁc rock contains asbestos; it only has the potential to contain asbestos. Environmental testing can determine if a rock contains asbestos.
Asbestos exposure results from breathing in asbestos ﬁbers. If rocks, soil, or products containing asbestos are disturbed, they can release asbestos ﬁbers into the air. These ﬁbers can be breathed into your lungs and could remain there for a lifetime. Asbestos exposure is not a problem if solid asbestos is left alone and not disturbed.
Almost everyone has been exposed to asbestos at some time in their life. Higher levels of asbestos are more common near:
Being exposed to asbestos does not mean you will develop health problems. Many things need to be considered when evaluating whether you are at risk for health problems from asbestos exposure. The most important of these are:
Most people don’t show any signs or symptoms of asbestos- related disease for 10 to 20 years or more after exposure. When symptoms do appear, they can be similar to those of other health problems. Only a doctor can tell if your symptoms are asbestos-related.
No known method exists to remove asbestos ﬁbers from the lungs once they are inhaled. Some types of asbestos are cleared naturally by the lungs or break down in the lungs.
Limit exposure by taking the following steps if you live in an area where naturally occurring asbestos has been disturbed and is likely to become airborne:
Superfund, officially The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), was enacted by Congress on December 11, 1980. This law created a tax on the chemical and petroleum industries and provided broad federal authority to respond directly to releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances that may endanger public health or the environment. Over five years, $1.6 billion was collected and went to a trust fund for cleaning up abandoned or uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.
The law authorizes two kinds of response actions:
CERCLA also enables the revision of the National Contingency Plan (NCP). The NCP provides the guidelines and procedures needed to respond to releases and threatened releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants. The NCP also establishes the NPL. CERCLA was amended by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) on October 17, 1986.
View the EPA Superfund Site FAQ HereLearn More about CERCLA Here
The National Priorities List (NPL) is the list of national priorities among the known releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants throughout the United States and its territories. The NPL is intended primarily to guide the EPA in determining which sites warrant further investigation.
Learn More Here
ARP Hotline: (406)-291-5335ARP Office: (406) 291-2442
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Contact the CARD Clinic for updated information on screening, diagnosis and treatment of asbestos-related diseases.
The CARD Clinic recommends screening for any person that lived, worked or played in Lincoln County for at least 6 months prior to 2003. Contact the CARD Clinic for more information.
Address:418 Mineral AveLibby, MT 59923
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