The population of Libby, Montana was unknowingly exposed to deadly amounts of asbestos for nearly 30 years — a side effect of the manufacturing of insulation. This process produced a particularly dangerous form of asbestos.
Federal prosecutors are now accusing the mining company, W.R. Grace, of knowing about these dangers, and intentionally withholding this information from their employees and the townspeople. U.S. attorney William Mercer said “they, we allege, knowingly endangered people in the Libby community by failing to make disclosures."
Court documents show the death rate in Libby from asbestos lung disease to be 40 to 80 times higher than the national average. Also, 1,200 of the town’s 8,000 residents have scarring in the tissue around the lungs — all from asbestos exposure. This contaminated material was everywhere, including the running tracks at the local school.
Prosecutors say W.R. Grace never warned the schools; they even decided that telling their employees to shower before going home would only cause fear in the community.
When Bush referred recently to “frivolous asbestos claims,” is this what he was talking about? You go, Boy George. I for one have had it up to here with these over-the-hill retired blue-collar types running to the press crying “waaaaahhhh!!! I have cancer boohoohoohoooooo.”
The name W.R. Grace probably isn’t a household name, but if you saw “A Civil Action” with John Travolta , you’re familiar with that company. Their water pollution — and their extensive, over-the-top Mafia-like efforts to keep it covered up — was the subject of the movie.
W.R. Grace is currently in bankruptcy proceedings “because of” these asbestos claims. (As Dana Carvey used to say, “how convenient.”)