Property Owner: Grace Knew Asbestos Risk

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA – A woman who purchased property from a defunct vermiculite mine in Libby says she received a copy of a letter written by the mine manager saying he knew the risks of asbestos in the vermiculite.

W.R. Grace & Co., based in Columbia, Md., and five former company officials are on trial on federal allegations that they knowingly exposing the residents of the small town to asbestos fibers that have killed hundreds and sickened thousands.

Lerah Parker testified Wednesday that former mine manager Alan Stringer’s letter to W.R. Grace officials said he “knew there was a health problem associated with exposure to asbestos for both employees and their families when the mine and mill were still operating.”

Parker says she met with Stringer for coffee after receiving the letter and asked him if he knew she and her husband would suffer health issues when they bought the property from the mine. She says Stringer put his coffee down and left.

Parker testified she has asbestosis in her right lung.

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