AN AIR THAT KILLS: How the Asbestos Poisoning of Libby, Montana, Uncovered a National Scandal
In this book, journalists Andrew Schneider, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, and David McCumber, a Pulitzer finalist, tell the chilling story of the most outrageous corporate health scandal in U.S. history. This is the true story, by the journalists who broke it, of a small Montana town devastated by a vermiculite mine owned by the profit-hungry W.R. Grace & Co.
Grace — and the Zonolite Company before it — hid the risks of its mining business for more than 60 years. Toxic dust contaminated with lethal asbestos fibers poured out of the mine for decades, poisoning the men who worked there, the families they went home to and the town that grew around in. In one year alone, more than two-and-a-half tons of asbestos fibers were released into the Libby air every day. So far, far more than 400 people in Libby have died from asbestos-related diseases and thousands more have been sickened. And the death toll keeps climbing. But the outrage doesn’t end there. Vermiculite ore from Libby was shipped around the nation — and the world — and used in potting soil, attic insulation and fireproofing materials. An estimated 30 million homes in the U.S. and Canada have potentially lethal insulation from Libby in their attics. And when the World Trade Center towers collapsed on 9/11, they released asbestos fibers from Libby into the air of lower Manhattan.
AN AIR THAT KILLS, says author Ken Auletta, “will make your blood boil.” And not just over the actions of the mine owners. Schneider documented in a chilling paper trail that the town was left to die by every branch of every government charged with making sure that something like this doesn’t happen. But the book will also give you hope by explaining how a former cowboy and barmaid teamed up with two hippies and a geek to take on the Bush White House, bring help and Libby and put Grace executives on trial for their actions.
An updated version of An Air That Kills will be release soon after the conclusion of the criminal trial.