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Asbestos

Media Announcements - Marysville, OH

Workers at Nine Former Vermiculite Processing Plants Were Exposed to Asbestos
The Scotts Company (formerly O.M. Scott and Sons Company) Marysville, OH evaluated

 

For Immediate Release: September 22, 2005

ATLANTA - Workers that processed vermiculite from a mine in Libby, Montana at nine former plants located throughout the United States were exposed to asbestos and are at increased risk for developing asbestos related health problems, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) reports in public health consultations released today. The plants that processed Libby vermiculite are located in Dallas, TX; Ellwood City, PA; Honolulu, HI; Marysville, OH; New Orleans, LA; Newark, CA; New Castle, PA; Portland, OR; and Wilder, KY.

Today's releases bring to 21 the number of public health consultations completed in a series of 28 health evaluations being conducted at sites across the United States that received and processed vermiculite mined in Libby, MT. The vermiculite from Libby contained asbestos. While exposure to asbestos does not mean a person will develop health problems, ATSDR has linked some exposures to Libby vermiculite to respiratory illnesses. The remaining reports will be released by the end of 2005.

The Scotts Company processed Libby vermiculite between 1967and 1980. Former workers are most at risk for asbestos exposure is a finding consistent with the other 20 sites evaluated.

ATSDR recommends that former workers take specific steps to protect their health and improve quality of life:

  • Learn more about asbestos exposure,
  • See a doctor with experience in asbestos-related lung disease
  • Quit smoking,
  • Get regular flu and pneumonia shots.

At these sites, ATSDR has found that those who lived with former workers while Libby vermiculite was being processed at the plant also could have been exposed to asbestos by workers carrying home asbestos fibers on their hair and clothing. The Scotts Company officials report that company policy called for workers to shower and change clothes before leaving the plant. Adherence to these practices would have prevented household exposure.

People could have been exposed to asbestos if they handled or played in waste rock, a by-product of vermiculite exfoliation. At some vermiculite plants, workers or people in the community may have brought waste rock from the plant to their homes. This waste rock was used in many ways, for example in gardens and as fill or driveway surfacing material. No information suggests that this occurred at The Scotts Company.

When processing vermiculite between 1967 and 1980, the plant might have released dust and asbestos fibers into the air. ATSDR cannot determine the extent of exposure to former residents who lived near the plant.

The ATSDR public health consultation for The Scotts Company site is available for review at the Marysville Public Library, 231 South Plum Street.

For more information about the health consultation, community members can contact Health Communication Specialist Maria Teran-MacIver, toll-free, at 1-888-422-8737. Callers should refer to The Scotts Company site in Marysville, OH.

ATSDR, a public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, evaluates the human health effects from exposure to hazardous substances.

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Members of the news media can request an interview by calling the NCEH/ATSDR Office of Communication at 404-498-0070.

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