For decades, numerous workers and residents were exposed to asbestos. In some cities, residents still face the hazards of asbestos exposure even years after the toxic mineral was regulated. In turn, a multitude of Montana workers and residents have developed life-threatening illnesses caused by asbestos exposure. An experienced Montana mesothelioma lawyer, however, can help these residents obtain the compensation and help they are entitled to.
Keep in mind that if you or a loved one have been injured by mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be entitled to a significant amount of compensation. Fill out our form to get a free Financial Compensation Packet. You’ll learn about the top mesothelioma lawyers in Montana, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file a claim for the asbestos trust funds, and more.
We are happy to offer assistance to all asbestos victims and their families in every city and town in Montana, including:
Libby, Billings, Missoula, Great Falls, Bozeman, Butte-Silver Bow, Helena, Kalispell, Havre, Anaconda-Deer Lodge, County Miles, Helena Valley West Central, Helena Valley Southeast, Belgrade, Livingston, Laurel, Lockwood, Whitefish, Evergreen, Sidney, Lewistown, Orchard Homes, Glendive, Columbia Falls, Polson, Hamilton, Bigfork, Dillon, Malmstrom AFB, Helena Valley Northwest, Hardin, Lolo, Glasgow, Shelby, Four Corners, Deer Lodge, Cut Bank, Montana, Wolf Point, Helena Valley Northeas,t Conrad, Lakeside, East Missoula, Big Sky, Colstrip, North Browning, Pablo, Red Lodge, Lame Deer, East Helena, South Browning, Columbus, West Glendive, Malta, Townsend, Ronan, Three Forks, Plentywood, Stevensville, Baker and Forsyth, Crow Agency, Roundup, Choteau, Bonner-West Riverside, Big Timber, Frenchtown, Clancy, Manhattan, Fort Benton, Fort Belknap, Agency and Sun Prairie, Thompson Falls, West Yellowstone, Seeley, Lake Helena, West Side, Chinook, Absarokee, Boulder, Eureka, Black Eagle, Gardiner, Helena Flats, Whitehall, Somers Plains, Scobey Park, Browning, Gallatin, Gateway, Harlowton, White Sulphur Springs, Rocky Boy, West Churchill, Troy, Fairview, Pinesdale, Hungry Horse, Clinton, Hays, Florence, Chester, and more.
Montana Asbestos History
Montana is one of the least populous states in the Union, but it is one of the focal points of the tragedies connected to asbestos. Though the Environmental Working Group (EWG) ranks Montana in 42nd place in the number of total malignant mesothelioma deaths in the U.S., the state’s mining industry was a major source of asbestos for over 30 years.
The mines near the town of Libby, owned and operated by W.R. Grace, extracted millions of tons of asbestos and vermiculite. Though untainted vermiculite poses no major threat to human health, asbestos-tainted vermiculite triggers diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma cancer. Many companies, including W.R. Grace, mined, sold, and shipped both asbestos and vermiculite to the other 49 states because these minerals are efficient heat resistors and easily conduct electricity.
Libby, Montana: Asbestos and Mesothelioma
Asbestos mining companies, including W.R. Grace, knew about health risks from asbestos exposure as early as the 1920s. Nevertheless, they successfully suppressed medical studies linking the minerals to mesothelioma for decades.
Thus, many residents of Libby were exposed to asbestos fibers over a long period of time. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a mortality analysis of death certificates issued between 1979 and 1998 indicated a high number of deaths from malignant and nonmalignant cancers in the town of Libby.
Current estimates indicate that 50% of Libby’s 2068 residents have developed asbestos-related diseases, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and malignant mesothelioma. 200 Libby residents died from these illnesses, according to the ATSDR mortality analysis.
Per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the mines around Libby “may have produced 80 percent of the world’s supply of vermiculite.” Normally, vermiculite is a harmless clay-like material. Sold by W.R. Grace under the brand-name Zonolite, this material was widely used in such products as attic insulation.
However, the Libby vermiculite deposits often contained asbestos fibers, thus spreading the carcinogenic minerals to other parts of the country. The EPA estimates that in 1985, 940,000 homes contained or had contained Zonolite vermiculite insulation.
Another Libby-area business affected by asbestos exposure was the Stimson Lumber Mill. The mill, which was destroyed in a 2010 fire, was closed in 2003 due to asbestos-related problems.
Asbestos residue was found in Stimson’s plywood plant, finger jointer, central maintenance building, and the log yard during a 2002 EPA inspection. In addition, EPA testers found asbestos in two large piles of wood chips and tree bark outside the town limits.
Libby Area Job Sites with Asbestos Exposure
- Libby Mine
- Stimson Lumber Mill
- Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, Libby line
- Karst Mine
Other Montana Job Sites with Asbestos Issues
Power plants and oil refineries built before the 1980s were built with materials containing large amounts of asbestos. Asbestos was an essential component in these facilities’ program for fire prevention.
As a result, many workers in Montana’s three oil refineries and in at least six electrical power plants were exposed to asbestos fibers. Most of the asbestos was used to line pipes which transferred either oil or high-pressure steam, but a significant amount of asbestos fibers was woven into the fabric of the workers’ protective gear.
Asbestos exposure occurred in the following facilities:
- Anaconda Copper Mining Company in Butte
- Colstrip Power Plant in Colstrip
- Water and Electric Light Company in Miles City
- Union Oil Company refinery in Cut Bank
- Texaco Oil facility in Sunburst
- Montana Refining Company facility in Great Falls
- Conrad Placer Mining Company
- C&C Plywood Corporation
- Anaconda Copper Mining Company
- Saltenberger Plumbing & Heating
- Farmer’s Union Central Exchange
- Boston and Montana Consolidated
- Laurel Oil and Refining Company
- Cenex Refinery
- J Neil Lumber Company
- Saint Regis Paper Company
- Northern Pacific Railway Company
- Bozeman Montana College
- Lewis and Clark Power Plant
- Stauffer Chemical Company
- Helena Power Transmission Company
- Western Ranch Supply Company
- Sierra Talc and Clay Company Inc
- Montana State Hospital
- Warm Springs State Hospital
- Montana Coal and Iron Company
- Montana Refining
Montana Asbestos Laws
Montana follows state asbestos laws as well as regulations implemented by the EPA, OSHA, and NESHAP. State laws are implemented by Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality Asbestos Air Act and Asbestos Control Act.
- All schools built with asbestos in Montana must follow the EPA asbestos regulations. However, state rules under the Montana statutes also apply, as well as OSHA rules.
- The Montana Asbestos Control Act mandates that anyone working on an asbestos abatement not only must provide written notification to the state beforehand, but also must be certified to work around asbestos by the state.
- A clean-up order is strictly enforced for anyone who dumps or leave asbestos on their property if it poses threats to the public.
- A certified Montana inspector must inspect all areas of an asbestos abatement project before it begins.
- When removing asbestos, it must be contained in an encapsulation that is clearly marked, and then taken to an approved landfill.
For more information and in-depth details about asbestos laws in Montana, contact the Montana Department of Environmental Quality’s Asbestos Control Program at 406-444-1436.
Where to Get Medical Treatment: Montana Cancer Center
The Montana Cancer Center at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula was certified by the Commission on Cancer as a Community Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Program in 1998. Its various specialists, including oncologists and surgeons, treat cancers of all types, including mesothelioma and lung cancer. Most patient care service is offered at the Montana Cancer Center’s main facility in Missoula. However, the Center’s oncologists visit outreach centers outside Missoula twice a week. On Tuesdays, the oncology team operates a chemotherapy clinic at St. Joseph Hospital in Polson. On Wednesdays, they operate a chemotherapy clinic at Marcus Daly Hospital in Hamilton.
The Montana Cancer Center offers mesothelioma treatments to patients in all stages of the disease, including biopsies, imaging, surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
Keep in mind that it’s extremely important to find physicians who are experienced and specialize in asbestos-related diseases. The symptoms of mesothelioma and other factors associated with asbestos-related cancers are still considered rare in the medical world, so it’s imperative to seek treatment from a knowledgeable and experienced source.
Montana Statute of Limitations on Mesothelioma and Asbestos Lawsuits
Mont. Code Ann. § 27-2-2021 et seq., the Montana statute of limitations for personal injury cases, including asbestos-related lawsuits, requires that each case must be filed within three years of the time the illness was discovered or should have been discovered. In addition, wrongful death asbestos-related cases must be filed within three years of the victim’s actual date of death.
Getting Legal Help in Montana
Remember, if you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may qualify for significant compensation. Get our free Financial Compensation Packet for information on the top mesothelioma and asbestos lawyers in your area. If you have questions or need assistance, contact us toll-free at 800-793-4540.