BILLINGS, Mont. — Medical researchers have started a five-year investigation into the long-term health effects of human exposure to asbestos-tainted vermiculite ore in Libby.
Stephen Levin, an associate professor from New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine, is leading the investigation. He says the results could help determine appropriate cleanup levels for the town in northwestern Montana, where thousands of residents and mine workers were exposed to asbestos over nearly a century.
The research team includes staff from Mount Sinai, the University of Montana, Idaho State University and Libby’s Center for Asbestos Related Disease.
They will carry out three studies, examining asbestos risks during childhood, lung scarring among Libby residents not directly involved in vermiculite mining, and the relationship between lung scarring and autoimmune disorders.