Troy, Montana – Officials with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assured on Wednesday that they’d have a letter soon to confirm that a large wood pile in Troy city is not tainted with dangerous asbestos. For several months, they have been anticipating a letter so that they can do something with that woodpile, such as move it or burn it.
Rebecca Thomas, a spokesperson representing the EPA, assured the Commissioners on Wednesday that they’d receive the letter by the coming Thursday. The agency says activity-based asbestos testing has concluded that those wood chips were not actually contaminated.
Anyway, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality is not agreeing with this finding. The DEQ is now challenging the test results. Commissioner Mr. Tony Berget said during the meeting that the dump, where the wood chips are located, is running out of room.
Test results of the wood piles, which were sold from a Superfund site in Montana for using in a landscaping display, showed that they contained asbestos, but at very low levels. According to the EPA officials, the levels are not unacceptable as they do not pose any threat to human health.
The agency got test results on last Friday. The report offered some sort of relief to the Libby town, where extensive asbestos contamination killed approximately 400 individuals and sickened almost 1750.
The testing was conducted after local officials, businesses and residents raised concerns. The business owners bought the material in huge amounts for spreading in parks, around homes, and to use as an erosion control. Preliminary tests had indicated asbestos presence. However, the amounts were not known then.
Asbestos is a group of minerals occurring in the nature. Asbestos has excellent resistance to corrosion, heat, fire and electricity. It has been used extensively in various products, such as piping insulation, floor tiles, construction materials, cement and other joining compounds. The material was also used in automobile clutches and brakes. Asbestos was a common presence in shipyards and boiler rooms.
Now asbestos is known for its hazards. The use of the material has now been highly regulated by both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). Asbestos fibres associated with these hazards are extremely small and can’t be seen with naked eyes. Inhalation of these fibres can result in scar tissue buildup in the lungs – a condition known as asbestosis. Asbestos exposure can also cause mesothelioma, a terminal cancer of the mesothelium.