In the rural community of Libby, Montana the Center for Asbestos Related Disease (CARD) has emerged as a national center of excellence in addressing healthcare issues associated with Libby Amphibole Asbestos (LAA). The community and its residents are facing an environmental and public health disaster caused by decades of community-wide asbestos exposure.
The mineralogy of LAA is unique both chemically and structurally which has ramifications on the toxicity of the fiber and health effects experienced by those exposed. Diagnosing asbestos related disease (ARD) associated with LAA is difficult as it is a new presentation compared to the more traditional ARD historically seen associated with chrysotile; the commonly used commercial asbestos.
Through outreach programs CARD is trying to bring awareness to those who many have been exposed to LAA, not only in Libby but across the nation and the world. The symptoms associated with the disease often go unrecognized, leading to under-diagnosis or misdiagnosis of unexplained respiratory symptoms and conditions.