U.S. Senator Max Baucus of Montana recently congratulated the Center for Asbestos Related Diseases (CARD) in Libby, Montana, on its securing of a $10 million grant to help treat asbestos victims.
The grant will offer screenings for asbestos-related diseases – such as lung cancer, asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma, a rare cancer – to those in the Libby area, according to a release from the Senator’s office. The grant is part of a program Baucus created for President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law.
“Early screening is one of our strongest weapons in the fight to treat asbestos victims and prevent this terrible tragedy from taking any more of our family members and neighbors,” Baucus said. “The folks at the CARD clinic do amazing work supporting asbestos victims, and this grant will give them security and support to continue providing great screening and healthcare to folks in Lincoln County for years to come.”
Libby, a national health emergency
In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency declared Libby to be the first national health emergency in U.S. history. This was due to the old W.R. Grace vermiculite mine, which ceased operations in the early 1990s. The mine brought up a large amount of asbestos to the surface.
Exposure to asbestos can have deadly consequences as the inhalation of the deadly mineral fiber has been known since the mid-1960s to cause a number of illnesses such as malignant mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer.
These illnesses have reportedly caused the deaths of hundreds of people in Libby and the surrounding areas. The World Health Organization estimates that such diseases kill 107,000 people each year around the world.
Grant will help CARD serve the community
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded the $10 million grant, which will be paid out over the course of four years, to Lincoln County-based CARD after it won a competitive application process.
“CARD is grateful for the opportunity to continue providing free asbestos health screening for individuals exposed to asbestos in Libby, Montana,” Dr. Brad Black, CARD Medical Director and Lincoln County Public Health Officer, said. “CARD will not only be providing free screening in Libby Montana but CARD will also implement screening across the nation for individuals exposed in Libby, Montana.”