Libby Asbestos Clinic Gets $2.5 Million in Funding

U.S. Senator Steven Daines of Montana announced yesterday that more funding has been secured for the Center for Asbestos Related Disease in the town of Libby, the site of one of the world’s worst environmental disasters and home to hundreds of individuals who have been harmed by asbestos exposure.

Libby Asbestos Clinic Gets FundingThe funds will primarily be used for asbestos-related health screening, which is the reason the clinic was started. The CARD clinic, as it is known, also provides additional services for the victims of Libby asbestos and for their families.

“The Center for Asbestos Related Disease is a vital nonprofit resource that helps with identification, treatment, and research for those with asbestos exposure,” said Daines. “Too many Montana families have suffered at the hands of asbestos and through this additional funding, Dr. Black and his team will be able to continue the excellent work they have been doing and the people of Libby will have the support they need to fight the consequences of this deadly carcinogen.”

Dr. Brad Black, who is the director of the clinic, said “CARD is once more greatly appreciative of Sen. Daines’ efforts to maintain the much-needed services for the people of Libby, both former and current residents, who have been effected by this exposure. This means a great deal for us all.”

The asbestos clinic has been in existence since 2000 when it became clear that the screenings the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry were offering in the town of Libby were not going to be enough.

Once so many individuals were diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases, it was evident that the town needed to have a more permanent resource for patients and their families.

Hence, CARD was born in conjunction with St. John’s Lutheran Hospital to provide diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring for those affected by asbestos. This allowed individuals to stay close to home rather than having to travel to big city cancer centers for advice and treatment.

In 2003, CARD separated from the hospital and became its own entity, adding research on asbestos diseases to its list of tasks. Outreach and psychosocial services are also now available at the clinic, which became a 501 (c) 3 community-based non-profit shortly after branching out on its own.

CARD remains as important as ever to locals. One might think that the number of cases of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases is declining, clinic officials suggest, but that’s not the case in Libby.

The clinic still sees about three dozen new patients a month and continues to care for others who are sick and dying due to their exposure to Libby amphibole asbestos, found in the vermiculite mines operated by W.R. Grace and Company.

Senator Daines has always been an advocate for care for these Libby residents and has also been integral in securing research funds for Montana State University scientists who are studying the toxic material and how it effects those who are exposed, as well as potential new and better treatments for diseases such as mesothelioma.