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Ethics and Environmental Health

Earliest known facts about asbestos

The ancient Greeks named the mineral asbestos, meaning inextinguishable. The Greek geographer Strabo and the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder both reported a sickness of the lungs in the slaves who wove asbestos into cloth.

Asbestos was also used circa 2,000-3,000 BC in Egypt to wrap embalmed pharaohs and in Finland to strengthen clay pots. Asbestos was originally used in wicks for the eternal flames of the vestal virgins, cloth for the funeral dress used at the cremation of kings, and it was rumored that Charlemagne had asbestos napkins and tablecloths. It is said that the Romans cleaned asbestos napkins by throwing them into a fire. In the Middle Ages it was used as insulation in suits of armor. After visiting an asbestos mine in China in the late 13th century Marco Polo reported that asbestos was a stone, not the hair of a wooly lizard, as was previously believed. (Heritage Research Center)

Asbestos use reappeared in historical writings in the 1700's, and its use intensified with the advent of the Industrial Revolution. In industrial settings, asbestos-containing products were used for insulation for boilers, steam pipes, turbines, ovens, kilns, and other high-temperature equipment.

Despite the early association between asbestos and disease, its use increased over time and more and more ways to use the indestructible fiber were discovered.

The world's first commercial asbestos mine opens in Thetford Mines, Quebec, and produces 300 metric tons of asbestos containing insulation materials. (The Virginian-Pilot)

Robert Rannie and his partner dug a 40-foot shaft following a vein of quartz hoping to discover gold but instead discovered vermiculite mineral. (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

First published case of lung scarring caused by asbestos "Curious Bodies" (Murray)

Sixteen deaths from pulmonary fibrosis are reported in a French asbestos textile plant, prompting the wearing of respirators by workers and the use of exhaust ventilation systems. (The Virginian-Pilot)

Auribault - First reported case of asbestos lung disease; Linked 50 deaths to asbestos dust in Weaving Mill. (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Vermiculite Mountain in Libby, Montana discovered (Grace website)

Hoffman - U.S. Department of Labor bulletin - "urgent need for more qualified extensive investigation...." (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

US government report stating that it was the practice of American and Canadian life insurance companies not to sell coverage to asbestos workers due to the assumed injurious health consequences. A reference reports that the Chief Inspector in England is aware of deaths and lung disease in workers at asbestos plants. (Belluck & Fox)

Edward Alley, part time miner and Libby, MT hotel owner, observed that the unique characteristic of vermiculite when heated by flame, expands to large lightweight puffy clusters that did not burn.
Little known substance called vermiculite was named Zonolite. (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

More than 25 published articles concerning asbestos and lung disease.

The first detailed case of asbestosis appeared in the medical literature; the patient was a former T&N employee.
A doctoral dissertation on Asbestos and Health was written; the thesis, based on data from T&N's Armley factory, referenced T&N's use of dust extractors in the late 1920's.
(International Ban Asbestos Secretariat website)

A U.S. Navy medical bulletin includes asbestos work on a list of hazardous occupations and suggests that respirators be used in the workplace. (The Virginian-Pilot)

Commercial mining operation begins at Libby (Grace website)

Alley produced 4 tons of Zonolite per day in Libby, MT (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

British medical journal publishes first widely available article describing death of a 33-year old woman who worked in an asbestos textile plant. (Belluck & Fox)

Zonolite plant produces 100 tons of Zonolite per day
Vermiculite ore was removed from the top of the mountain and hauled to a mill, it was separated into various commercial sizes by a screening process
Vermiculite ore was shipped either unprocessed, or
Processed at 2000° F causing it to expand 15 times its original size (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

British pathologist W.E. Cooke issues a report describing asbestosis as a disease that involves the scarring of the lungs and shortness of breath. The report indicates that asbestosis could be fatal. (Belluck & Fox)

Journal of the American Medical Association publishes editorial called "Pulmonary Asbestosis." Articles and case reports describing incidence of asbestosis are published in the United States and worldwide. (Belluck & Fox)

Seiller; Haddow - Case Reports; average age at death, 41 (4 Cases) (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

A British physician and a factory inspector publish a landmark article in a medical journal describing the clinical characteristics of asbestosis and recommending safety measures to protect workers. (The Virginian-Pilot)

Dr. Merewether, a famous researcher, publishes first clinical examination of hundreds of workers in the asbestos industry. He found that one out of four workers was suffering from asbestosis. Dr. Merewether further concluded:

  • That asbestosis was a disease of latency, i.e. that workers exposed to asbestos wouldn't show signs of injury for many years
    That asbestos dust had to be controlled through ventilation and the use of respirators
    That workers exposed to asbestos should be informed and warned in order to assure a "sane appreciation of the risk."
    That the finished products created dust that should be controlled and minimized.

Dr. Merewether's medical description of asbestos disease mirrors exactly the description of the disease today. His recommendations, if implemented by the asbestos industry, would have saved tens of thousands of lives and injuries to American workers.

Mereweather & Price - 363 asbestos textile workers studied, 95 (26%) asbestosis; 21 precursive signs" Dose-response relationship seen; importance of intensity and duration of exposure. (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

International Labor Office, Geneva Encyclopedia, Occupation & Health - "the lack of more accurate and detailed data in medical literature regarding this industry in its various branches, including the utilization of by-products, is to be deplored.....especially since the rapidly increasing development of industries utilizing asbestos add greatly to the urgency of studying the conditions with a view to their amelioration." (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

The British government imposes what are believed to be the first comprehensive workplace restrictions on asbestos use, including requiring the ventilation of dusty work areas and substituting wet asbestos uses for dry. It also begins providing disability compensation for asbestosis.
More than 150 articles on asbestos related disease published in medical literature.

The "Report on effects of asbestos dust on the lungs and dust suppression in the asbestos industry" was submitted by Dr. Merewether and C.W. Price to Parliament on 24 March, 1930. Using data obtained from TBA's Rochdale factory, this paper documented the risks of long-term exposure to asbestos. In response to these findings, the Asbestos Regulations of 1931 were passed. (International Ban Asbestos Secretariat website)

Reports demonstrated that asbestosis was occurring in workers with as little as nine months of exposure (Belluck & Fox)

Soper; Panacost & Pendergrass - Progression of the Disease even after cessation of exposure; long clinical latency -- 15, 20 or 25 years. (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Lynch & Smith - Noted 172 Cases reported in Literature (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Wood & Gloyne - Asbestosis in a "sawyer" description of industries and processes in which asbestosis occurs, includes insulation work (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

(Klemperer and Rabin used the term "mesothelioma" in 1931.)

Johns-Manville Corp., the nation's largest asbestos-products manufacturer, approves the confidential settlement of 11 claims brought by workers who had handled asbestos and claimed disabilities from lung disease. (The Virginian-Pilot)

Ellman - First U.S. case report of asbestosis in an insulation worker (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Donnelly - Describes short exposures as definite, serious industrial hazard. Consensus is that protective devices used in plants are inadequate. (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Mereweather - Risk in milling and manufacturing processes is patent and serious; concludes affected workers face inevitable death. (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Researchers report cases of asbestosis and lung cancer in an asbestos factory. Many of the workers had less than six months of exposure to asbestos. Reports were also published of asbestosis from workplace exposure to products, including boiler workers, custodians and insulators. (Belluck & Fox)

Wood & Gloyne - Review of the first one hundred cases of asbestosis they had seen - includes 2 cases of individuals working outdoors; 1 office worker; boiler-riveter. Two cases had serious lung cancer. (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Dept. of Labor, Commonwealth of Penn. Special Bulletin I, II & III - Bibliography contains 125 publications. Dust Measurement and disease correlated 8% disease at 5 mppcf, 22% at 17mppcf, 57% at 44 mppcf (?); overall approximately 25% of those survived had asbestosis. (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Edward Alley Died
Thousands of products being sold around the world contain vermiculite mined from the mountain in Libby (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

The American Journal of Cancer published "Pulmonary Asbestosis: Carcinoma of the Lung in Asbestos- "

Lanza, Survey of U.S. Mines and Mills - 126 random exams (all more than three years of exposure) 67 cases of asbestosis. Dust control only partly effective; industry must face this problem. (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Lynch & Smith - First asbestosis and lung cancer case reported in the United States. (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Donnelly - Asbestosis in 34% of workers; seriousness of hazard has received insufficient attention. Greater number of exposed workers means asbestosis of greater importance. (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Egbert; Nordmann, British Factory Inspectorate Report - Additional cases of lung cancer in asbestosis. (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Dreessen - U.S.P.H.S. study -- "tentative" threshold value set at 5 mppcf "until better data are available" (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Lanza - Reports 1931 British regulations applied to all factories and workshops where asbestos containing products were either manufactured or sold. (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Universal Zonolite Insulation Company and Alley's Zonolite business merged with another company mining at the bottom of the mountain (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

The American Journal of Cancer published "Pulmonary Asbestosis: A Report of Bronchial Carcinoma and Epithelial Metaplasia"

1940s through '60s:
Medical experts in the United States and Europe debate whether a "safe" level for asbestos can be established based on a count of airborne fibers.

Universal Zonolite Insulation Company contacts the State of Montana on
Sept. 17, Company requests information from Dr. Lloyd Farner, M.D., Director of Division of Industrial Hygiene State Board of Health on whether the insurance with the State of Montana protects the company on occupational disease and what steps need to be taken to secure insurance coverage
Insurance with State Industrial Accident commission does not give coverage for occupational disease. Dr. Farner suggests contacting a private insurance carrier. There is no compensation in the State for occupational disease at this time (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Through its American subsidiary Keasbey & Mattison (K&M), T&N was made aware of a research project in upstate New York which had found an 81% incidence of lung cancer in mice exposed to asbestos dust. The director of the Saranac Laboratory, Dr. Le Roy Upson Gardner, told the projects' sponsors, including K&M, that "the question of cancer susceptibility now seems more significant than I had previously imagined."
K&M sent the report to T&N's headquarters commenting: "It brings out a number of important new developments but we feel that reference to the question of cancer susceptibility should be omitted from the report since it is inconclusive." Dr. Gardner wanted the project continued but the reluctance of its sponsors, the Second World War and Gardner's unexpected death caused a temporary halt to the work. (International Ban Asbestos Secretariat website)

State visits site to discuss purpose of Industrial Hygiene Division
March 27: Plant shut down for remodeling, Company plans to install dust collection system in future
December 9: State Board of Health conducts inspection of mine relating to occupational health (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Kuhn - Reports German case of shipyard insulator receiving disability compensation for asbestosis (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

State issues occupational health report
Air and CO samples collected at mill and load out station
Results: Air Sample = 7.9 million particles per cubic foot (mppcf) (Threshold limit of 50.0 mppcf);
CO Sample = 95.0 particles mppcf (Threshold limit of 100.0 mppcf)
State Board of Health report-requested ventilation pipe for gas; workers loading materials be required to wear respirators; and duct installed to remove dust to improve ventilation (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Report of lung cancer in association with pulmonary asbestosis. (Holleb & Anguist)

Holleb - Reports two cases of lung cancer in insulation workers (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Researchers report that lung cancer in building trades workers is likely caused by asbestos. Dr. Heuper, a noted occupational physician and the first chief of the environmental cancer section of the National Cancer Institute, suggests that asbestos causes asbestosis as well as cancer in the manufacturing process as well as through finished building products such as insulation and packing materials. In 1949, Dr. Heuper warns that asbestos was a cancer risk to the general population. By this time there were over 200 references in the widely available literature regarding asbestos and disease. (Belluck & Fox)

Germany recognizes combination of asbestosis and lung cancer as compensable occupational disease. (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Welder - Reports on pleural-based cancer (mesothelioma) in asbestos exposed patients. First Pleural tumor reported (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Hueper - Recognizes that industry may exert pressure in order to keep information on "industrial cancer" well under cover. (Hueper) Convinced of occupational origin of lung cancer with asbestosis; concerned about industry reactions; stresses need for workers to be informed. (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

The secretary of the Navy and the head of the U.S. Maritime Commission issue safety standards for asbestos workers in yards that build Navy ships, including ventilation of dusty areas and a requirement that respirators be used by asbestos workers. But the standards are not systematically enforced. Enforcement is left to the yards. (Wedler)

Montana State Board of Health reports that the dust at the plant is a "nuisance dust" and measurements are well below 50 mppcf for total dust, indicating "no dust hazard." (Grace website)

July 31: Universal Zonolite completes installation of dust control equipment: Memorandum to Dr. Cogswell from Division of Industrial Health
Milling process equipped with covers and exhaust ventilation which prevent the dust from these operations escaping into the work place
Changes still needed: larger exhaust fan to increase velocity at specific point and control dust at the mine tailings load out
Air samples collected in workplace (silica) 10 and 20 mppcf
(Threshold 50 mppcf)
Summary of report states the proper and adequate means of controlling the dust have been or are in the process of being installed (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

JWR and NIC were warned by H.M.Chief Inspector of Factories of the dangers arising from the increased usage of asbestos aboard ships (International Ban Asbestos Secretariat website)

Asbestosis found occurring in end users of asbestos products (pipecoverers who had worked with insulation products in shipyards). (Fleisher, Viles & Drinker)

Fleischer - U.S. Navy Survey of three shipyards hygiene and clinical; high dust counts during cutting, sawing, mixing asbestos products; disease expected among workers in these operations; clinical survey found three cases of asbestosis among the 51 men with more than ten years experience in the yards (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

ACGIH - Adopts five mppcf into a list of MAC values (called TLVs after 1948) (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Mereweather - 31/235 (13%) autopsied cases of asbestosis had cancer of the lungs or pleura. Only 1% seen in silicotics and general population (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Universal Zonolite Insulation Company changes name to Zonolite Company (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Encyclopedia Brittanica lists asbestos as a recognized cause of occupational and environmental cancer. The Journal of the American Medical Association concludes that asbestos is probably linked to occupational cancer. (Belluck & Fox)

Factory Inspectorate Report (Great Britain) - Burlap packaging criticized as a health hazard; stresses need to be watchful for disease among those who are not fully aware of risks (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Production reaches 150,000 tons per year by mine owner, Zonolite Company (Grace website)

More than 125 articles on asbestos and disease in the medical literature.

Lung cancer attributed to cigarette smoking (Grace website)

Weiss - First mesothelioma case reported in an insulation worker (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

American scientists establish an epidemiological link between asbestos and cancer.
(The Virginian-Pilot)

Letter to Ben Wake, State Board of Health from Paul Woolrich, Occupational Health of Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Salt Lake City- addresses several questions Wake asked during Mr. Woolrich's recent visit to Helena, Woolrich says,
"Mineralogical formula for vermiculite has been unsuccessful due to its highly variable composition
Pneumoconiosis twice as likely to occur among workers exposed to mica dust" (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Incidence of lung cancer among asbestos textile workers found to be nearly 14 times greater than in general population. (Doll)

Dr. Richard Doll made public his findings that the incidence of lung cancer amongst the asbestos workers at the TBA factory in Rochdale was ten times the national norm.
Concern about the high incidence of cancer at the T&N Rochdale factory, prompted the chief medical officer to begin collecting data which was ultimately published in 1955.
(International Ban Asbestos Secretariat website)

Doll - Mortality study of 113 asbestos textile workers, all with more than 20 years of exposure. Excess mortality found (39 deaths; 15 expected -- 11 lung cancer; 0.8 expected) (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

McLaughlin - Reports increasing cases of asbestosis in Great Britain, including insulators (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Schepers - Reports asbestos containing insulation products produce asbestosis in animals (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Ben Wake, Industrial Hygiene Engineer for Division of Disease Control for State of Montana conducted a study at Zonolite Company to evaluate the working environment.
Concentration of dust in the air vary 11.6 to 83.0 mppcf. Concentration in relation to free silica are not excessive although the concentration of nuisance dust in the dry milling process exceeds the 50.0 mppcf
Asbestos content of the dust has not been determined; however, company records of 8-21% asbestos dust concentration would indicate asbestos content in the air should not be greater than 25-30 mppcf (Limit 5 mppcf). Recommendation will follow when concentration of the fibers is known.
Report recommends improvements of the ventilation system and mandate use of respirators in the dry milling process.
Report from Department of Health, Education and Welfare, UT (from Dohrman Byers) concerning samples analysis of dust collected during Wake study
Do not have a reliable method to determine asbestos in samples-If company will cooperate and control the dust the asbestosis and silicosis hazard would certainly be minimal
Wake reiterates concern that the asbestos in the dust would be higher than comparing asbestos content in the ore and requests additional information when available (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Senior Scientist Byers at U.S. Department of Health informs Ben Wake of the Montana Health Department there is no reliable way of analyzing asbestos content. He estimates 10% of Libby ore is asbestos and recommends a 50 mppcf limit of total dust. He adds, "if the company will cooperate and actually attain dust control of this order, the asbestos and silicosis hazard would certainly be minimal." (Grace website)

Frost - Of 31 insulation workers in Denmark with more than 20 years in the trade; 22 abnormal (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Ben Wake requests that Mr. Byers analyze three sputum samples from three men exposed to asbestos dust: No response in file (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Dr. C. Wagner discussed his research, which established the link between neighborhood asbestos exposure and the disease mesothelioma, with Turner & Newell's chief medical officer. (International Ban Asbestos Secretariat website)

Van Der Shoot - Reports Pleural mesothelioma in a Dutch insulation worker in a refinery (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Ben Wake conducts study at Zonolite Company: follow up investigation of the previous study in 56'
Some progress noted to reduce dust in the dry milling process but not to a satisfactory level
Dust concentration levels lower than in ‘56 study but are significant in view of the amount of asbestos fibers in the dust concentration equal to 27%
Exhaust system needs constant maintenance/repair
Closed system needed for ore carrying and treating systems
Dr. Benjamin Highman analyzed sputum samples from Montana for W. Clark Cooper, Occupational Health-Dept. H, Ed and W in Washington DC
No asbestosis bodies were found (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Zonolite x-rays 130 mine employees, 48 come out abnormal. Results are sent to the employee's family doctor. (Grace website)

The article that is incorrectly cited as the source that first linked asbestos with malignant mesothelioma, called "Primary Malignant Mesothelioma of the Pleura," was published in Lancet in 1960. (Klemperer and Rabin used the term "mesothelioma" in 1931.)
Mesothelioma, a rare cancer, the only known cause of which is asbestos exposure, is reported to be rampant among asbestos miners in South Africa. (The Virginian-Pilot)

Wagner - Asbestos exposure and mesothelioma 32/33 cases had asbestos exposure -- occupational or environmental (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Kiviluoto - Pleural Calcifications seen more frequently among residents in county with asbestos mine or mill (7.9%) (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Another epidemiological study confirms reports that exposure to asbestos causes mesothelioma. This study also included the children and wives of asbestos workers who contracted mesothelioma.(Belluck & Fox)

Eisenstadt, Wilson, McCaughey, Wade, Elmes, Castleman, Kibbee
Case reports of mesothelioma seen among workers using asbestos products in Great Britain & United States (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

In 1964 T&N personnel went to the New York conference at which Dr. Irving Selikoff detailed the links between asbestos and disease.
During the sixties T&N promulgated different versions of the threat posed by asbestos. To an important customer who asked awkward questions in 1966, T&N wrote: "There is no proof that asbestos can cause Mesothelioma and it is by no means the sole cause of this disease." But in 1965 Turner & Newall's own company doctor John Knox had warned the Board that: "Exposure to Asbestos, even though it may have been transient, and many years previous, is an important factor in Mesothelioma of the pleura". (International Ban Asbestos Secretariat website)

Montana State Board of Health survey shows extremely high and substantial concentration for ... asbestos dust. This is the first report to identify tremolite asbestos.
(Grace website)

Ben Wake sends air samples and ore samples to Occupations Health Research Facility in Ohio for analysis- (Results)
To determine if asbestos is present in the ore: Yes
Type of asbestos: Tremolite
Percent of asbestos fibers in air-borne dust samples submitted: 40 %-petrographically- x-ray diffraction was not possible
Ben Wake conducts follow up investigation of Zonolite Company
Conclusion: No progress had been made in reducing dust concentration in the dry mill to an acceptable level
Classification of dust changes: no longer nuisance dust because of vermiculite mining but should be classified in the same category as talc, and asbestos content should be closely observed at 5 mppcf
April 19th Zonolite Company is requested to attend meeting before the State Board of Health on May 19th
Discuss lack of compliance with recommendation in ‘56, ‘59 and ‘62 Wake Studies
Attendance is not compulsory-but beneficial to you and the workers of your company
Zonolite attends meeting and agrees to conduct dust counting (air sampling)
Ben Wake letter recommends equipment needed to conduct dust counting studies and updates on the ventilation work being conducted (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Workers' union at Zonolite mine begins receiving Montana State Board of Health reports specifically addressing asbestos dust (Grace website)

Ben Wake - report on Industrial Hygiene Study of Zonolite Company
60 days from the date of report, suitable ventilation will be applied to dust control measures to eliminate hazardous conditions
Samples of vermiculite indicate 6.2% -22.5% Tremolite present
Zonolite Company acquired by W. R. Grace (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Grace, unaware of the extent of hazards of mining and milling vermiculite, purchases Zonolite Company for just under $10 million dollars (Grace website)

Mancuso - Mortality study in the U.S. shows asbestos plant workers have increased mortality rates (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

Dr. Selikoff, a major researcher at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York, confirms widespread disease among asbestos workers and from family members living with asbestos workers. A large number of job titles were implicated in the report, including construction workers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, etc. Selikoff pointed out that asbestos did not "respect" job titles and could harm any person who breathed in asbestos. (Belluck & Fox)

Selikoff - Largest mortality study of asbestos insulation workers, excess asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma deaths. Clinical survey of 1,117 workers (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published "Industrial Management and Occupational Cancer"
Local Union 361 Letter to Ben Wake: Request assistance to clean up the serious unhealthy conditions at the Zonolite operation
Wake Letter to Union: Enforcement Provisions of the Industrial Hygiene Act of 1939 are very poor, AG's office has not strengthened the Act and we can only use certain portions of the Act to achieve compliance with recommendations, agrees to make another inspection at plant
Ben Wake report on Industrial Hygiene Study of Zonolite Company: Ventilation system repaired and new fan installed. Noted improvements in ventilation system are
counteracted by poor house keeping. Recommendations: improve housekeeping, elevate blower discharge off ground and continue to determine dust concentrations at the plant (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Johns-Manville places the first warning labels on some asbestos insulation products. (The Virginian-Pilot)

Direct contact between the workers' union and the State Board of Health regarding working conditions. The union requests help from the State Board of Health in making recommendations to management.
Grace begins moving employees with breathing concerns to less dusty areas of the plants.
Annual X-ray testing of Libby employees implemented by Grace. Results reported to each employee's family doctor.
Montana Board of Health reports total dust concentrations at Libby plant between 8.0 and 52 mppcf. Includes "some good work has been made and that housekeeping has substantially improved over previous times. But, other engineering changes need to be implemented to further reduce the dust."
Grace report mentions to reduce dust, purchase high load fans and oil roads, begin research to develop "wet" mill technology. (Grace website)

Marr - Six cases of shipyard asbestosis; industrial hygiene survey done, some counts exceed TLV; "During sawing of blocks and pipe sections and removal of old insulation, the work environment appears extremely dusty" (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

After 1964, the medical literature continued to identify asbestos as a major carcinogen and environmental hazard. Over 200 publications described the hazards of asbestos by the end of the 1960's. (Belluck & Fox)

Grace letter states disappointment in former mine owner Zonolite's slowness to react to recommendations from the State Board of Health. Grace makes it a priority to develop "wet" mill technology.
Asbestosis is specifically added to Montana's list of diseases covered by the State's Occupational Disease Act. The workers' union was aware of and supported the efforts to pass the bill in the Legislature.
Grace communication states, "we don't know just what effects the dust in the dry mill has on individuals. We realize that the dust can be harmful and the only answer is control. This has been made plain to everybody at Libby and have insisted that every effort be made for the control of the dust." (Grace website)

Newhouse - Nine cases of mesothelioma among family members of asbestos workers, 11 neighborhood cases (Early, Ludwick, Sweeney, Strauss website)

McVittie - Between 1955 and 1963 41% of new cases of asbestosis diagnosed by the Great Britain Pneumoconiosis panels were workers in the insulation industry; 21% in textile factories

First lawsuit involving asbestos injury is filed in Beaumont, Texas. (A verdict is returned in favor of the defendants.) (Asbestos Injury Law website)

A 50-foot stack, more exhaust fans and cyclones installed to further reduce dust. (Grace website)

Senator Richard Dzivi, Great Falls representing client with a "fibrotic" condition of the lungs requests information from the State Board of Health (B. Wake) (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Workers' union hires legal counsel and litigates first asbestosis claim filed against Grace under State's Occupational Disease Act.
Montana State Board of Health reports, "our view of the operation of the plant and the dust samples taken in the dry mill during these two periods indicated that, in general, the dustiness in the dry mill had been reduced substantially from previous periods and that the systematic review by Mr. Vinion of the dust concentration showed a reduction over previous periods." 96% of all dust counts are within the State's imposed "safe" threshold, not requiring a respirator. However, respirators still required in most locations throughout the mill. (Grace website)

Selikoff demonstrates lung cancer incidence among smoking asbestos-exposed workers to be 50 times greater than in non-exposed population.

It is determined that stronger filters in the cyclones will further reduce dust, Grace installs them. (Grace website)

Second asbestos lawsuit is filed. Jury returns a verdict in favor of the plaintiff. (Asbestos Injury Law website)

Grace begins the development of technology and plans for a replacement "wet" mill to reduce dust. (Grace website)

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets the first federal standards for workplace exposure to asbestos. They become effective on April 28, 1971.
(The Virginian-Pilot)

April 1971:
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets the first standards in the United States for workplace asbestos exposure: a maximum of 5 fibers per cubic centimeter of air during an eight-hour workday. The standard is changed to 2 fibers in 1976, to 0.5 fiber in 1983 and to 0.1 fiber in 1994. That is the current standard. It is 1/50th the level of the 1971 measure.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) requests information on asbestos exposure from State Board of Health, Ben Wake, Director
Ed Gatzemeier, of State Board of Health responds: Conducts asbestos fiber counting at plant (Occupational Health Lab in UT analyzes sample) Reports company has a medical program (chest X-rays)
W.R. Grace submits construction permit application for sources of air pollution
Dust collector for bagging facility in town
W.R. Grace applies for Mine Permit application #00003
Submits Reclamation Plan
Mine site approximately 320 acres/life of mine 1200 acres
Bond set at $100/acre
Issued from Department of State Lands
Montana Fish and Game
Agencies meet to discuss tailings impoundment and Rainy Creek road relocation (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

W.R. Grace Report
Explains the technical aspects of the new vermiculite mill and the pollution control facilities replacing the "Old" mill operations
Department of Health and Environmental Sciences (DHES) Reviewed "Libby Mill Air Pollution Abatement Program"
Environmental Sciences Division approves and certifies the facilities for the purpose of air and water pollution control (tax purposes)-Ben Wake, Director
W.R. Grace issued Mine operating permit #10
Department of State Lands conducts inspection to review controls to correct silt problem in Rainy Creek (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

U.S. Bureau of Mines report "work on alleviating the dust conditions was proceeding."
Grace installed improvements include air filtered hoods for tractor loader, air filter systems on trucks, cabs and skipper's shack as well as new respirator sterilization center. "Wet" mill construction begins. (Grace website)

Legal battles on behalf of asbestos victims shift to other parts of the United States. (Asbestos Injury Law website)
W.R. Grace submits application to install air pollution control equipment to comply with applicable air pollution regulations
Clean Air Act: Asbestos Regulations adopted (Federal)
Regulations focus:
Demolition and Renovation
Asbestos as a commercial product
W.R. Grace requests and receives approval to relocate Rainy Creek around impoundment from Department of State Lands(DSL)
W.R. Grace supplies requested information to United States Forest Service concerning impact plan for land exchange (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Dr. Irving Selikoff, Director of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine's Environmental Sciences Laboratory in New York, predicts during congressional testimony that 1 million Americans would die of work-related asbestos disease by 2000. (Selikoff)

Grace completes construction of the "wet" mill at Libby for $14 million dollars, over $4 million more than the purchase of the mine 10 years earlier. (Grace website)

Montana DHES inspected W.R. Grace Zonolite plant, discussed changes being implemented (Robert T. Hill inspector) 1) No dry grinding of ore 2) Ore concentration is wet and 3) final screening is totally enclosed (Asbestos is supposedly removed by the concentration process and should not be a problem in the product)
Asbestos survey: Average concentration in the mill and screen plant are below the TLV of 5.0 fibers/cc
Some samples exceeded the proposed TLV where exhaust ventilation is not providing adequate control
Need an increase in housekeeping efforts
DSL activity at W.R. Grace site
July 1st: Legislature grandfathered of bonding limits from change in Statute, bond currently $32,000
November 15th: DSL conducts inspection at mine site (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

New "wet" mill becomes operational. Airborne mill asbestos dust reduced to levels considered safe by government agencies, or several thousand times lower than when Grace purchased Zonolite in 1963. (Grace website)

The government determines that asbestos is a major industrial health hazard, and the EPA bans its use in thermal insulation products. (The Virginian-Pilot)

DSL attends meeting for land exchange with Forest Service (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Greater than expected number of lung cancer deaths among Libby employees first observed. (Grace website)

Norfolk attorney Richard Glasser files the first asbestos product-liability lawsuit in Virginia, on behalf of Cedric Thornton, a shipyard worker who had died of mesothelioma. Soon, asbestos lawsuits are being filed by the thousands.
DSL conducts mine site inspection (The Virginian-Pilot)
June 7-10th: United States Mining Enforcement and Safety Administration conducts inspection (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Increased emphasis on improvements in ventilation system and in work practices to reduce fiber exposure at the plant. (Grace website)

DSL conducts mine site inspection
Mine Reclamation bond is increased from $32,000 to $93,500, W.R. Grace receives approval to expand mine site to 443 acres (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Ban on hiring smokers (Grace website)

The Navy discloses that it has violated its own ban, which has been in effect since January 1973, on the use of asbestos insulation in the construction of new ships (The Virginian-Pilot)

A former Johns-Manville plant manager testifies about the company's "hush hush policy" regarding asbestos. Evidence of conspiracy and fraud begin to emerge. (Asbestos Injury Law website)

Mine Reclamation bond is increased $93,500 to $113,500
W.R. Grace receives approval to expand mine site to 482.6 acres (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

DSL conducts mine site inspection
EPA issues enforcement action for Air Quality Violation
Citation following State opacity observation of 61% from plant dryer stack
DHES collects water samples at Rainy Creek
Analyzed for basic parameters: flow, temp, pH, dissolved O2 noted sedimentation mica, vermiculite and silt deposits (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Ban on smoking on premises fully implemented.
Union files and arbitrates grievance even after educational program describing substantial health risk when a smoker is exposed to asbestos dust (Grace website)

May 2nd occupational health inspection reported by DHES to Wm. Hooper of Zonolite Plant
Time Weighted Averages (TWA) for asbestos was not exceeded
New equipment has reduced airborne asbestos levels
Reclamation bond is increased $113,500 to $190,000
Expansion of mine site from 482.6 acres to 635.4 acres
DSL conducts mine site inspection
W.R. Grace's tailings impoundment
Tailings pond dams are considered a high hazard dam monitor by National Dam Safety requirement. (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Articles in two medical journals note that the incidence of lung cancer and mesothelioma are unusually high in Hampton Roads and attribute the phenomenon to the region's large shipbuilding and ship-repair industry. (The Virginian-Pilot)

California Supreme Court rules that a worker can sue his/her employer in a civil action (in addition to worker's compensation) if the employer aggravates an existing injury known to the employer. (Asbestos Injury Law website)

Hazardous conditions continued at T&N's South African asbestos mines. Dr. Peter Elmes, occupational lung disease specialist reported: "There is an incredible amount of handling of dust-covered items... hazardous materials like asbestos just cannot be processed safely in this way." T&N's medical adviser complained after the Elmes report had been withdrawn: "I thought the bad old days of suppression of reports, secrecy on health and safety matters, non-investigation of sensitive problems were long since over... The ‘withdrawal' of the Elmes report, the attempt to curtail the humidifier fever (Legionnaires disease) survey at Hindley Green and Mr. Marks' reluctance to forward my memo to you all seems to contradict this. I am sure the decisions have been well intentioned, but the overall impression is of fudge and cover-up" (International Ban Asbestos Secretariat website)

DHES conducts Air Quality inspection at W.R. Grace
Inspected load out facility, dryer, boilers and mine area and observed no visible emissions
W.R. Grace requests Air Quality permit change
Present sources have been covered by permits to construct requests converting to operating permits
8 permits issued between 1970-1980
DSL conducts mine site inspection
Corps of Engineers conducts inspection (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

EPA Interim Final Report prepared under contract by Versar Inc.
"Exposure Assessment for Asbestos Contaminated Vermiculite" Official Use Only (W.R. Grace is a data source)
DSL conducts mine site inspection
DHES conducts Air Quality inspection at W.R. Grace
Source operation conditions during inspection are in compliance for visible emissions and opacity limits (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Johns-Mansville files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. (Asbestos Injury Law website)

April 20th Status report prepared by EPA epidemiology study of past and present workers-Report is to be considered incomplete
Facts noted in report performed by W.R. Grace
Medical Surveillance program
X-rays (1964),
Pulmonary Function Test (1974),
Health Status Questionnaires and smoking ban (1978),
Cooperates with NIOSH Study
McGill University Study will undertake a thorough analysis of Libby data
W.R. Grace awards a research grant to McGill University to conduct health-related study on former and current Libby mine and mill workers
Workers employed in the 40's, 50's and 60's had an increase in lung related deaths as compared to the general public
Libby workers today have a 5-10% increased risk of developing lung opacities
W.R. Grace contracts with Harding Lawson Assoc. to conduct a study of the impoundment dam at the tailings pond
US Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration conducts inspection (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

First punitive damage award obtained against Fibreboard in the United States. (Asbestos Injury Law website)

Grace files notice of the Toxic Substance Control Act reporting possible health effects from exposure to tremolite at Libby.
Grace contacts McGill University to conduct study on Libby mine employee's health.
Dr. McDonald of McGill University begins study. (Grace website)

W.R. Grace agrees to DHES request to collect dust samples
Bagging facility in town
Screen Plant located on river
DHES collects bulk samples from W.R. Grace pollution control equipment to analyze
3 samples collected and each contain Tremolite asbestos
June 27, DHES photographs mine site, tailings pond and screening plant
DHES Air Quality inspection
No visible emissions, 10-15% opacity (limit 20%)
November 7th EPA internal memo: Chemical Coordination Staff and Air & Hazardous Materials division
Provide information concerning the hazards associated with the use of certain asbestos substitutes
Use of substitutes such as vermiculite with a binder is permitted despite the presence of asbestos in excess of 1%
NESHAPS addresses asbestos emissions
Controls emissions from commercial asbestos mills, renovation and demolition activities, applications, fabrication and insulation materials (Federal)
Attorney Ann Kimmel requests all information concerning Zonolite Vermiculite Plant in Libby from DHES (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

First successful asbestos trial against a railroad company. (Asbestos Injury Law website)

First verdict against an asbestos brake lining manufacturer. (Asbestos Injury Law website)

W.R. Grace produces 173,000 tons of vermiculite
DSL conducts mine site inspection
DSL and US Department of Labor (MSHA) conduct mine site inspection
May 15th DHES Air Quality inspection
No excessive emissions were noted from any phase of the mining operation
September W.R. Grace develops report which outlines the mines total operation, health studies and related statistics titled "GRACE"
Attorney David Evan requests files from DHES concerning W.R. Grace (files sent)
Attorney David Sheehan requests files from DHES concerning W.R. Grace (files sent) (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Draft of McGill report presented to Grace.
Dr. McDonald presents study findings to Libby current and former employees who participated in the study.
McGill report released at the Sixth International Symposium on Inhaled Particles in Cambridge, England.
Levels of tremolite fiber exposure at Libby are 20 times lower than federal regulations require.
Grace requires employees to wear removable coveralls to prevent dust from traveling with workers (Grace website)

W.R. Grace produces 166,000 tons of vermiculite
DHES conducts Air Quality inspection: No visible emissions, mill not operating-raining
DHES conducts RCRA inspection
Assigns EPA ID #MTD981543812
DHES/ S & HW memo states asbestos is not a hazardous waste in MT and may be disposed of at mine site dump
DSL reviews Lawson Assoc. tailings impoundment plan
W.R. Grace submits five-year mine Plan
W.R. Grace receives approval for amendment and expands mine from 635.4 acres to 1004 acres (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

W.R. Grace produces 150,812 tons of vermiculite
US EPA requests information from W.R. Grace operations on air emissions of asbestos and other mineral fibers
Provide information that will be used in considering the need for national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants for sources of contaminate asbestos under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act (amended 1977)
DHES conducts Air Quality inspection: No visible emission, plant not operating
Requested asbestos sampling information: Plant Foreman (Jacobs) stated personnel monitoring for asbestos range from 0.02-0.3 f/cc and ambient air samples did not detect asbestos-Corporate approval for release of sampling data
DHES conducts RCRA inspection: No violations noted
EPA study of Asbestos Contaminated Vermiculite
As of November 29, 1999, DEQ/ENFD has not reviewed this document -check with J. Wardell-EPA
DSL conducts mine site inspection: Observes above ground fuel tank not within
W. R. Grace submits Spill Response Plan (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Reclamation Bond increases from $190,000 to $472,000
Bond release requested on 69.5 acres
Bond release published in Western News
Full bond release for 14.7 acres on Knoll #3
60% bond release on 54.8 acres on Knoll #2
August-Reclamation Bond reduced $472,000 to $467,242
Mary Anne House-Attorney requests Board minutes that involve W.R. Grace
Minutes include 1962-Occupational Health Issue
1970-1974 Air Quality Variance Issues
DHES conducts Air Quality inspection
No visible emissions and 0% opacity
Mine not operating: All emission sources in compliance (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Selikoff releases results of a study at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard showing that nearly 80 percent of 142 workers examined had signs of asbestos disease. He had undertaken the study in 1984 and presented the results to the Navy, which didn't respond. (The Virginian-Pilot)

DSL conducts mine site inspection (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

A California court rules that the same asbestos exposure can cause separate and different asbestos-related diseases. (Asbestos Injury Law website)

May 14th: EPA conducts Federal Air Inspection
In compliance:
Visible emission 0-5% from all stacks
Roads watered to control dust
September 30th: W.R. Grace Ceases Operations
All structures and equipment removed and dismantled
Requests release of air permit from DHES
December: W.R. Grace begins demolition of mine buildings
DHES conducts RCRA inspection
No violations noted
DSL conducts mine site inspection
Receives notice of mine closure
Receives report from US Forest Service of Rainy Creek road sampling
Estimates cost to reclaim site
December 10th: DSL and DHES Water Quality Bureau conduct site inspection (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Grace ceases operations in Libby, Montana.
Reclamation work on mine sites begins (Grace website)

Faced with staggering numbers of asbestos lawsuits, the federal judiciary consolidates all suits filed in federal court. Under the plan, a judge in Philadelphia hears pretrial motions in all asbestos cases to reduce the judicial logjam. (The Virginian-Pilot)

Reclamation at mine site begins, DSL and DHES WQB review water-monitoring plan
Impoundment closure plan, Yearly inspections conducted ‘91-present, Final design for Rainy Creek channel reconstruction, Surface Water samples collected (DSL)
Requirements of Mining Bond, Multiple constituents analyzed, DHES conducts RCRA inspection, No violations noted following plant closure and proper disposal of all listed hazardous waste (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Chief Justice Rehnquist of the U.S. Supreme Court appoints an ad hoc committee regarding the thousands of court-filed asbestos illness claims.
They respond, "a national solution is primarily in the hands of Congress.
A new asbestos claim handling system will achieve many important public policy objectives." (Grace website)

March 31st: as a result of citizen complaint asbestos demolition/renovation inspection conducted by DHES, Occupation Health Bureau
Five buildings contain ACM (regulated asbestos containing material)
W.R. Grace failed to notify of demolition activity
Failed to conduct proper abatement project
Buried ACM on site
Solid and Hazardous Waste Bureau collect Soil Samples
Concern using mine tailings for road construction
non-issue: Regulates asbestos mine tailings not vermiculite mine tailings
Five composite soil samples (Forest Service)
Mine yard: 3% Tremolite
Past the Gatehouse on road: 1% Tremolite
Gate house road cut: 5% Tremolite
County Road: < 1% Tremolite
County Road Cut: ND
Two composite soil samples collected
Mill Yard: < 1% Tremolite
Little League Field: N.D.
November 19th: NESHAPS Roadway Standards as applied to W.R. Grace-EPA to Montana Superfund
DHES - Superfund: Reviews reclamation plan
Concern asbestos detected in road cut are above regulatory limits and that road will not be resurfaced following mine closure
DHES/S & HW receives citizen complaint
Alleges fuel tanks are being buried during night shift
Complaint referred to DSL -jurisdiction under Mine's clean up plan
June 17th: W.R. Grace obtains Abatement Project Permit for Demo/Renovation
November 20th: Montana Adopts Air Quality Rules including sections of NESHAP
W.R. Grace submits air sampling results collected outside facility
Four selected areas for 8 weeks starting in June 1991
Below OSHA threshold limit of 0.2 f/cc
DSL coordinates Closure Plan review process
Surface water samples collected at and near the mine site
Receives and reviews comments on Impoundment Closure Plan
Montana Bureau of Mines
Fish Wildlife and Parks
Forest Service
DNRC Dam Safety Section
Schafer and Assoc. for W.R. Grace submit plan for flood routing alternative
DSL sends draft Environmental Assessment and press release for public meeting in Libby on mine closure plan, receives and reviews comments
Montana Bureau of Mines
Fish Wildlife and Parks
Forest Service
Libby County-Ron Anderson
September 25th: Approval of Final Closure Plan
Amendment 005 approved for closure of impoundment (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Phelps Dunbar Law Offices
Attorney Ashley Serice requests information from DHES Air Quality Bureau regarding asbestos violations at W. R. Grace
Response: No asbestos violations to date and clarification vermiculite mine v. asbestos
United States (EPA) takes civil action against W.R. Grace
Violations of NESHAP: Demolition of mill building containing regulated ACM
DSL conducts inspections mine site
Inspections of site May, July and September
Supplemental EA released on Final Design change in impoundment closure plan (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

DSL reviews bond release request
Press Release solicits public comment
W.R. Grace submits report on cost of reclamation
Conducts bond release inspection
September 13th: Bond Release approved $467,242 on 1185 acres to $66,700 on 1025 acres
W.R. Grace signs Consent Degree for NESHAP violations
Payment of civil penalty: $510,000
Engage in compliance program of 29 facilities around the United States
Montana adopts Water Quality standards
W.R. Grace sells mine site to Kootenai Development Company (KDC) (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

DEQ/Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) reviews permits
Operating permit and Replacement bond issued in both seller and purchasers names
KDC discovers refuse disposal site
DEQ approves Mine Refuse Site Reclamation Plan-revision 95-001
DEQ (DHES/Occupational Health conducts inspection)
Follow up letter sent explaining authority at the mine site
Complaint referred to Air Quality Division
Due to road dust (asbestos or not) (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

DEQ/EMB contacted by KDC
Requests information to become a supplier of rip rap (syenite)
Minor Permit Revision granted by KDC #96-001
Requests bond release of the remaining permitted area of 1025 acres
Montana adopts ARM 17.8.706
Hazardous air pollutants list effective 8/23/96 as described in the Federal Clean Air Act section 112 (b)
Human health risk assessment emissions inventory listing of all pollutants on list and DEQ may impose additional requirements for permit (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

After the First District Court of Appeals rules that any pain and suffering damages awarded to a plaintiff can be thrown out if the plaintiff dies during an appeal, the Supreme Court overturns the lower Court's ruling. (Asbestos Injury Law website)

EMB site activity
EMB conducts site inspection
KDC submits annual report
Bond release inspection, public review and approval granted December 30th: Releases 900 acres, 125 acres remain bonded at $66,700 (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Untied States Supreme Court Justices Breyer, Ginzberg, Rehnquist and Souter again request national solution from Congress to handle thousands of asbestos claims. (Grace website)

EMB site activity
KDC submits annual report
Conducts site inspection (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

EMB site activity
KDC submits annual report
Conducts site inspection
Collects surface water sample from toe drains on Rainy Creek relating to the impoundment ponds
Analysis on file
Well log information submitted by KDC
Sends bond release notice sent to Western News, Daily Inter Lake and others
Sends public meeting notice to all Montana major city newspapers
Gayla Benefield writes letter to Governor Racicot
Concerning proposed legislation for time limitations on filing of claims for asbestos compensation
Citizen complaint to EPA-8-Mo
Citizen complaint to DEQ/Enforcement Division
Determine regulatory authorities available to DEQ
Validate citizen complaint
Coordinate department response (Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality)

Under direction from the United States Supreme Court, American College of Chest Physicians, and others, thirty Senators, including Christopher Dodd, Joseph Lieverman, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Conrad Burns and seventy-five Congressman including Tom DeLay, Richard Armey, Mac Thornberry and James Moran cosponsor the Fairness in Asbestos Compensation Act. This historical bipartisan bill: speeds the process of quick monetary compensation to asbestos victims for present and future conditions, is funded entirely by the defendants, reduces the high cost and time of litigation to the plaintiffs and defendants. Caps attorney fees allowing more compensation to reach the victims. Industry supports this effort in order to compensate victims quickly, fairly and to avoid lengthy, costly litigation. The American Trial Attorneys oppose the legislation. (Grace website)

On Jan. 2, former Chief of Naval Operations Elmo Zumwalt Jr. dies of mesothelioma at age 79. (The Virginian-Pilot)

Congress passes the "Fairness in Asbestos Compensation Act". (Asbestos Injury Law website)

In January, Grace initiates sweeping three-part medical program to provide immediate medical coverage to any and all Libby residents diagnosed with asbestos related illness. The plan includes an annual donation of $250,000 to St. Johns Lutheran Hospital for independent testing, plus additional sums for the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment, staffing and technology. (Grace website)

On April 2, W.R. Grace & Co. becomes the 27th major corporation and the sixth in 14 months to file for bankruptcy resulting from asbestos claims (The Virginian-Pilot)

EPA Assists Libby in Getting Answers about Superfund (EPA website)

Access Lawsuit Settlement Requires W.R. Grace to Provide Community Health Benefits (EPA website)

EPA files suit against Grace for Cleanup Costs (EPA website)

10/23/02 EPA Adds Libby to National Priorities List (EPA website)
2/26/02 EPA Proposes Libby as a National Priority (EPA website)

Photos courtesy of Dudley Dana, Dana Gallery