Mar 28, 2009 - Cement Company Tests Show No Asbestos
On March 16, fifty seven cement plant workers of the Ash Grove Cement Company were sent home while investigations were taken to determine if the cement was contaminated with asbestos. Initial concerns were whether the mineral tremolite that was found in the quarry was contaminated with asbestos. This mineral, and it's link to cancer-causing asbestos, has been highly publicized recently in the criminal trial against W.R. Grace. No doubt, the timing of the discovery of tremolite at Ash Grove and the current trial against W.R. Grace has prompted more immediate and precautionary measures to be taken until it could be determined that workers at the cement company are safe from exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos is a naturally occuring mineral that was once widely used in the United States in industrial, commercial, and construction products until the mid 1980's. It was known for it's durability, fire resistance and insulating properties.
There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos and millions of people have been exposed to the toxic mineral. It is now scientifically and medically well established that exposure to asbestos causes serious diseases, such as malignant mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer.
Because of the known dangers of asbestos, regulations have been made by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and OSHA in an attempt to safeguard employees against occupational exposure. For this reason, not only will tests be made by the independent contractor to verify there isn't any asbestos at the Ash Grove Cement Company, but also by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the U.S. Mine Safety & Health Administration. Results are expected in the next couple of weeks.