The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has initiated a probe of the former Zonolite/W.R. Grace plant in Dearborn, Michigan over asbestos
concerns. According to officials, the plant processed asbestos-contaminated vermiculite sent from Libby, Montana into home insulation and commercial fireproofing material. Vermiculite is a group of minerals with a flaky, mica-like structure. It is mined for its uses in insulation and gardening.
Most vermiculite is not contaminated with asbestos. However, the vermiculite ore taken from a mining operation in Libby, Montana, is contaminated with asbestiform (asbestos-like) amphibole minerals, including the regulated forms tremolite and actinolite. It also contains forms that are not currently regulated, including winchite, richterite, and ferro-edenite. Research has linked all of these forms to asbestos-related diseases.
The Dearborn plant operated from the 1940s until it closed in 1990, possibly exposing thousands of workers to the contaminated substances. Health officials are also concerned area residents may have inhaled dangerous amounts of asbestos dust. Furthermore, records indicate that the facility received over 300 million pounds of vermiculite, which may have been sent to over 700,000 Michigan homes for insulation purposes.
Inhalation of asbestos fibers suspended in air can result in lung diseases such as asbestosis
and lung cancer
See your doctor if you have experienced serious health problems because of asbestos. In addition, it may be important to contact an attorney
who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits
within which you must commence suit.
- Specific Contaminated Sites
- Asbestosis: Overview
- Lung & Airway Disorders
- Lung Cancer: Overview