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Libby, MT, United States

Ryan P.H.,University of Cincinnati | Lemasters G.K.,University of Cincinnati | Burkle J.,University of Cincinnati | Lockey J.E.,University of Cincinnati | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology | Year: 2015

Residents of Libby, MT were exposed to amphibole asbestos through multiple environmental pathways. Previous exposure characterization has primarily relied on qualitative report of these exposure activities. The objectives of this study were to describe available data from the US EPA preremediation actions for Libby amphibole (LA) exposure in Libby, MT and develop an approach to characterize outdoor residential exposure to LA among children. Homes in Libby, MT included in the US EPA preremediation Contaminant Screening Survey (CSS) were categorized by the presence of interior and/or exterior visible vermiculite and concentrations of LA were measured in samples of dust and soil. Airborne exposure to LA while digging/gardening, raking, and mowing were estimated using US EPA activity-based sampling (ABS) results. Residential histories and frequency/duration of childhood activities were combined with ABS to demonstrate the approach for estimating potential exposure. A total of 3154 residential properties participated in the CSS and 44% of these had visible exterior vermiculite. Airborne concentrations of LA where there was visible vermiculite outdoors were 3-15 times higher during digging/gardening, raking, and mowing activities compared with homes without visible outdoor vermiculite. Digging and gardening activities represented the greatest contribution to estimated exposures and 73% of the participants reported this activity before the age of 6 years. This methodology demonstrated the use of historical preremediation data to estimate residential exposures of children for specific activities. Children younger than age 6 years may have been exposed to LA while digging/gardening, especially at homes where there is visible outdoor vermiculite. This approach may be extended to other activities and applied to the entire cohort to examine health outcomes. © 2015 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.

Winters C.A.,Montana State University | Kuntz S.W.,Montana State University | Weinert C.,Montana State University | Black B.,Center for Asbestos Related Disease
Applied Environmental Education and Communication | Year: 2014

As a means to involve the public in research, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) established the Partners in Research Program and solicited research grant applications from academic/scientific institutions and community organizations that proposed to forge partnerships: (a) to study methods and strategies to engage and inform the public regarding health science, and (b) to increase scientists’ understanding of and outreach to the public in their research efforts (NIH Public Trust, 2007). In this article, we report on a study funded by the NIH Partners in Research Program, to understand the research milieu (knowledge, acceptance, and research participation) and communication preferences of rural people experiencing an environmental disaster from amphibole asbestos exposure. © 2014, Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Broaddus V.C.,University of California at San Francisco | Everitt J.I.,Glaxosmithkline | Black B.,Center for Asbestos Related Disease | Kane A.B.,Brown University
Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part B: Critical Reviews | Year: 2011

Exposure to asbestos fibers is associated with non-neoplastic pleural diseases including plaques, fibrosis, and benign effusions, as well as with diffuse malignant pleural mesothelioma. Translocation and retention of fibers are fundamental processes in understanding the interactions between the dose and dimensions of fibers retained at this anatomic site and the subsequent pathological reactions. The initial interaction of fibers with target cells in the pleura has been studied in cellular models in vitro and in experimental studies in vivo. The proposed biological mechanisms responsible for non-neoplastic and neoplastic pleural diseases and the physical and chemical properties of asbestos fibers relevant to these mechanisms are critically reviewed. Understanding mechanisms of asbestos fiber toxicity may help us anticipate the problems from future exposures both to asbestos and to novel fibrous materials such as nanotubes. Gaps in our understanding have been outlined as guides for future research. Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Cline R.J.W.,Kent State University | Orom H.,State University of New York at Buffalo | Chung J.E.,Howard University | Hernandez T.,Center for Asbestos Related Disease
American Journal of Community Psychology | Year: 2014

Experiencing a disaster has significant negative effects on psychological adjustment. Case study accounts point to two consistent trends in slowly-evolving environmental disasters: (a) patterns of negative social dynamics, and (b) relatively worse psychological outcomes than in natural disasters. Researchers have begun to explicitly postulate that the social consequences of slowly-evolving environmental disasters (e.g., community conflict) have their own effects on victims' psychological outcomes. This study tested a model of the relationship between those social consequences and psychological adjustment of victims of a slowly-evolving environmental disaster, specifically those whose health has been compromised by the amphibole asbestos disaster in Libby, MT. Results indicate that experiencing greater community conflict about the disaster was associated with greater family conflict about the disaster which, in turn, was associated with greater social constraints on talking with others about their disease, both directly and indirectly through experiencing stigmatization. Experiencing greater social constraints was associated with worse psychological adjustment, both directly and indirectly through failed social support. Findings have implications for understanding pathways by which social responses create negative effects on mental health in slowly-evolving environmental disasters. These pathways suggest points for prevention and response (e.g., social support, stigmatization of victims) for communities experiencing slowly-evolving environmental disasters. © 2014 Society for Community Research and Action.

Cline R.J.W.,Kent State University | Orom H.,State University of New York at Buffalo | Berry-Bobovski L.,Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute | Hernandez T.,Center for Asbestos Related Disease | And 3 more authors.
American Journal of Community Psychology | Year: 2010

Social support is an important resource for communities experiencing disasters. However, a disaster's nature (rapid- versus slow-onset, natural versus technological) may influence community-level responses. Disaster research on social support focuses primarily on rapid-onset natural disasters and, to a lesser extent, rapid-onset technological disasters. Little research has addressed slow-onset disasters. This study explores social support processes in Libby, MT, a community experiencing a "slow-motion technological disaster" due to widespread amphibole asbestos exposure. A comprehensive social support coding system was applied to focus-group and in-depth-interview transcripts. Results reveal that, although the community has a history of normative supportiveness during community and individual crises, that norm has been violated in the asbestos disaster context. Results are interpreted as a failure to achieve an "emergent altruistic community." Specifically, community-level conflict appears to interfere with previously established social support patterns. The observed phenomenon can be understood as the deterioration of a previously supportive community. © 2010 Society for Community Research and Action.

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