Tests of the waterways surrounding Libby, Montana show extremely high levels of asbestos, complicating a cleanup that has already cost $370 million over the past decade, reports the Great Falls Tribune. W.R. Grace & Co. mined asbestos-tainted vermiculite near Libby to make residential insulation until 1990. Now the area is one of the largest superfund sites in the nation’s history. An estimated 400 people have died and 1,750 were sickened by the asbestos dust released from the vermiculite mine.
Until recently asbestos contamination in the water near the mine was not given as much attention as the concentrations in the air. The health effects from ingesting the mineral are not as well documented as those from inhaling it; however, concerns arose when the levels in Rainy Creek showed a count of 55 million asbestos fibers per liter on May 17. The limit for the same type of asbestos fibers in drinking water is only 7 million fibers (>10 microns in length) per liter.
State officials called the results “troubling,” according to the Tribune, and asked the EPA and Grace to keep asbestos-contaminated sediment away from the water with berms along the creeks, more vegetation, and other methods.
“EMSL Analytical, Inc. has three decades of experience testing for asbestos, and our expertise has made us the nation’s leading asbestos testing laboratory with over 30 locations nationwide,” states Ed Cahill, EMSL’s National Director of Asbestos. “We use the most advanced methods available to analyze asbestos in various types of samples, including water, soil, rock, air, settled dust, building materials, and vermiculite.”
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical, Inc. is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of consumer product, environmental, industrial hygiene, food and materials testing services to professionals and the general public. In addition, the company offers a large variety of air sampling equipment, sampling cassettes, and monitoring equipment. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations, as well as state and federal regulating bodies. Please visit our website for a complete listing of accreditations.