EPA testing yards near former factory - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

EPA testing yards near former factory

Photo: Spokesman-Review Photo: Spokesman-Review

SPOKANE, Wash. - Crews are testing residential yards near W.R. Grace's former insulation factory in Spokane for asbestos fibers that can cause cancer.

More information from

www.spokesman.com

For 22 years, Vermiculite Northwest produced Zonolite, an asbestos-tainted attic insulation. Rail cars brought vermiculite ore from Libby, Mont., to the Spokane plant, where furnaces heated the ore until it puffed up into lightweight insulation.

The EPA in 2000 and 2001 sampled soils from yards near the Grace plant and found only trace amounts of asbestos. That prompted the agency to give the area a clean bill of health.

Asbestos testing has improved. The agency decided to retest the Spokane yards after it earlier this month declared a public health emergency in Libby.

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