FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 5, 2008
Department of Health
Agency of Natural Resources
The towns of Lowell and Eden will host public meetings to discuss health and environmental concerns related to the now-closed Vermont Asbestos Group mine.
Meetings will be held on Thursday, Dec. 11, 6:30 p.m. at Lowell Graded School, and Friday, Dec. 12, 7:00 p.m. at Eden Central School.
Residents of the towns surrounding the mine are invited to attend: Albany, Belvidere, Craftsbury, Eden, Hyde Park, Irasburg, Johnson, Lowell, Montgomery, Newport Town, Troy, Waterville and Westfield.
At each meeting, Vermont Department of Health staff will discuss a new health study that shows an association between asbestos-related illness and living in towns located within 10 miles of the mine. The health study suggests that residents may have been exposed to asbestos in the past, but cannot tell anything about current exposure.
State health and environmental officials will also be joined by experts from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR).
Officials will explain the state and federal work that has already been done to contain the asbestos tailings left behind by the mining operation - as well as plans for more testing and risk evaluation so that future remediation work, if needed, can start in areas where the risk of asbestos exposure is greatest.
Vermont officials are calling for additional investigation of the impact of the mine, and are warning people to stay off and keep pets away. The mine stopped operations in 1993.