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Posted by Andrew S. Wainwright on Mar 20, 2013 11:03:00 AM

On March 18, 2013, the U.S. Senate, by unanimous consent, resolved that the first week in April, 2013 would be designated “National Asbestos Awareness Week.”

The Resolution was sponsored by Senator Max Baucus of Montana, and cosponsored by Senators Tester (D-MT), Boxer (D-CA), Murray (D-WA), Reid (D-NV), Durbin (D-IL), and Isakson (R-GA). Montana is home to W.R. Grace Vermiculite mine in the city of Libby. W.R. Grace operated the vermiculite mine in Libby for approximately 70 years, as its Zonolite-brand insulation became the number-one vermiculite product in the United States and the Libby mine supplied 80% of the world’s vermiculite. The mine was closed in 1990.

In 1999, responding to reports that the vermiculite was contaminated with deadly asbestos fibers, the EPA launched a widespread investigation of the town of Libby and the surrounding area. Designated a National Priorities List Superfund site in 2002, W.R. Grace ultimately agreed to pay $250,000,000 to help pay for the clean up the town-wide asbestos contamination. To this day, however, the people of the town of Libby suffer from asbestos related diseases at a significantly higher rate than then general population. Vermiculite has been used as a fertilized additive and as attic insulation. Other uses of asbestos include insulation, joint compound and brake lining.

The Senate resolution notes that “the inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers can cause significant damage . . . such as mesothelioma and asbestosis and other health problems.

If you have any questions about your or a loved one’s exposure to asbestos, please contact a lawyer at Thornton Law Firm for a free and confidential consultation by calling 888-491-9726. Thornton Law Firm has represented victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases for more than 35 years.