Chrysotile asbestos was mined from open pits at three locations on Belvidere Mountain in the towns of Eden and Lowell in northern Vermont from the early 1900s until it closed in 1993.
Asbestos is still found at the site in various forms, including undisturbed veins of the raw mineral in the quarry walls, and several million cubic yards of partially processed rock, estimated at up to 30 million tons. The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) Department of Environmental Conservation began investigating the site in 2004, due to significant erosion of asbestos waste piles into nearby streams and wetlands.
For more information, reports, and maps of the site, visit the ANR web site:
Breathing in chrysotile asbestos has been associated with lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis (a serious scarring lung disease) in workers in many epidemiological studies. Studies have shown that severity of disease is directly related to the concentration and length of time of exposure to asbestos. However few studies have evaluated the risk of developing lung cancer or asbestosis when exposed to chrysotile asbestos by non-occupational means.
Significant exposure over time to any type of asbestos will increase the risk of lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis and other disorders. For this reason, the Vermont Department of Health conducted two studies to try to assess health risk, if any, for Vermonters who lived in proximity to the mine. The 2008 study – an analysis of cancer registry, hospital discharge and death certificate data – cited several significant limitations that prevented drawing conclusions about how people may have been exposed to asbestos.
A 2009 case series follow-up study found that all of the five asbestosis-related deaths that occurred in towns surrounding the mine during the years 1996 to 2005 could be explained by occupational exposure to asbestos.
There is no evidence at this time that people who live near the mine are more likely to have or die from non-occupationally contracted asbestos-related diseases than people who live elsewhere in the state.
For a copy of the studies, contact the Vermont Department of Health
- Case Series Follow-up to a Cross-Sectional Study on Morbidity & Mortality among Vermonters Residing Near an Asbestos Mine • April 1, 2009
- A Cross-Sectional Study of Asbestos-Related Morbidity & Mortality in Vermonters Residing Near an Asbestos Mine • Updated December 9, 2008
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Page reviewed: February 29, 2012