Small steps to offset suffering

Quoted from

Small steps to offset suffering

Posted: Saturday, February 4, 2012 10:06 pm


After nearly 11 years, W.R. Grace & Co. is emerging from the cocoon of bankruptcy court where it sought financial protection while Libby asbestos victims got sicker and many died through the years.

Grace filed for bankruptcy in 2001 as personal injury claims from asbestos victims began stacking up. Once that happened, many figured they’d never see a cent in compensation from the corporate giant.

Finally, after all that time, a $19.5 million settlement with Libby victims was announced last week. The money will be transferred to a local Libby Medical Plan Trust that will accept current members of Grace’s medical program for Libby patients. It’s not nearly enough money to take care of the massive health-care costs people poisoned by Grace’s former vermiculite mine at Libby will incur during the course of their prolonged and painful illnesses, but it is literally “better than nothing.”

With a latency period of up to 40 years before the effects of asbestos exposure take effect, who knows how many more Libby area residents will be diagnosed? Grace closed the vermiculite mine 22 years ago. At this point the Center for Asbestos Related Disease, or CARD clinic in Libby has a caseload of more than 2,800 patients with varying degrees of asbestos disease and continues to add new patients.


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