Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma in Montana

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Jennifer Lucarelli Lawyer and Legal Advisor

If you live in the state of Montana and have worked there for a significant amount of time, there is a chance that you were exposed to asbestos in the workplace. Prolonged exposure to asbestos can lead to serious health problems including mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer and other non-malignant lung impairments.

01. Statistics

Mesothelioma and Asbestos Statistics in Montana

Many areas of Montana are sparsely populated, but asbestos exposure is still a problem near major cities and industrial centers.

  • From 1999-2015, approximately 190 Montana residents died from mesothelioma
  • Montana’s annual mesothelioma death rate 11.6 people per million, which is significantly higher than the national average (Source: CDC)
  • Montana has 19 cataloged asbestos mines and natural deposits (Source: USGS)
  • Montana’s highest mesothelioma incidence occurs in Lincoln County, where Libby is located (Source: Journal of the American Medical Association)
02. Asbestos in Workplaces

Asbestos Exposure in Montana Workplaces

Montana is home to perhaps the most notorious example of asbestos exposure in the United States, with mines in the northeastern part of the state being responsible for a significant number of mesothelioma cases.


The vermiculite mines in Libby, MT, operated for decades distributing the naturally occurring mineral all across the country for use in insulation and other products. Unfortunately, the vermiculite was contaminated with asbestos, exposing miners, their families, and other members of the nearby town to the deadly material. In 1999, the EPA began a cleanup of the site which has lasted more than 15 years. Other mines that have put workers at risk of asbestos exposure include United Sierra Division of the Cyprus Mines Corporation, the Anaconda Copper Mining Company in Butte, the Stillwater Mining Company in Billings, and the National Mining and Exploring Company in Helena.

Oil Refineries:

Montana is home to a number of oil refineries where asbestos packing has been used in pipe fittings, as well as much of the protective clothing worn by refinery workers. Conoco Oil Refinery, American Smelting & Refining, Farmer’s Union Co-Op Oil, and the Laurel Oil and Refining Company are all known to have exposed their workers to deadly asbestos, which is known to cause mesothelioma.

Power Plants:

At least six Montana power plants have been identified as asbestos problem sites. In addition to being flame-resistant, asbestos is also resistant to electrical current, and its use in power-generating facilities has put many employees at an elevated risk of asbestos-related illness. A few of worst offenders include Montana Power & Light Company, the Montana Powerhouse in Sidney, and the Helena Power Transmission Company.


The sugar industry has historically used asbestos during the refining process, where filters made of the fibrous mineral were used after other materials were found not to work was well. The Montana agricultural industry relies heavily on sugar beet crops, and many sugar processing plants in the state have had problems with asbestos exposure, including Holly Sugar Corporation, Amalgamated Sugar Company, Great Western Sugar Company, and Billings Sugar Company.

Paper and Lumber:

Montana’s wide swaths of forest have historically been a source for a thriving logging and paper industry, with dozens of sawmills and paper mills located throughout the state. These jobsites put thousands of sawyers, woodworkers, and other employees at risk of exposure to asbestos used in the machines and other aspects of the production process. Companies that put their workers at risk include C&C Plywood Corporation, Cascades Plywood Company, Dupuis Lumber Company, Broeder Lumber Company, and the St. Regis Paper Company.

03. Superfund Sites

Asbestos Superfund Sites in Montana

The EPA has placed several sites in Montana on its Superfund list due to the presence of asbestos.

W.R. Grace and Company Mines

In 1919, the largest and oldest vermiculite mine in the United States opened near Libby, MT, and soon the site began producing upwards of 80% of the vermiculite in the world. In the early 1960s, W.R. Grace bought the mines, and continued production until the 1990s. As it turned out, the vermiculite was contaminated with asbestos, causing massive exposures for both the workers at the mines directly, as well as secondary exposure for their family members, friends, and others in the town of Libby. The EPA has estimated that almost 10% of the town died due to asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma and asbestosis. In addition to having to pay damages to mesothelioma survivors (or their surviving family members), a number of W.R. Grace executives were brought up on criminal charges for the exposures.

Upper Clark Fork River Basin

The largest Superfund site in the country is known as the Upper Clark Fork River Basin, which is made up the Anaconda Copper Mill and surrounding areas in Butte, MT. The site as a whole consisted of many different contaminants, including heavy metals, phosphorus, and flue dust. One of the contaminants found in the area was asbestos, contained primarily in the stormwater infrastructure (pipes and concrete) of Butte Hill. Since the early 1980s, the EPA has been dealing with the fallout of contamination in this area and is presently working on a final plan to remediate the site.

04. Exposure in Cities

Montana Cities Where Asbestos Exposure Occurred

Learn more about asbestos exposure in the major towns and cities of Montana by clicking on the links below. If you worked at any of the jobsites highlighted on these pages, there is a possibility that you may have been exposed to asbestos which is known to cause the terminal cancer mesothelioma.

05. Other Work Sites

Asbestos Exposure at Other Montana Job Sites

Asbestos exposure is also a problem if you look beyond the major cities and towns in Montana. Select a town to see the list of its job sites where asbestos exposure occurred. Asbestos exposure at any one of the work sites revealed could put a worker at risk to develop mesothelioma cancer.

, Montana Jobsites Where Asbestos Exposure Occurred

  • Airbase Powerhouse
  • Alta Montana Company
  • Amalgamated Sugar Company
  • Amalgamated Sugar Company
  • American Crystal Sugar Company
  • American Smelting & Refining
  • Anaconda Aluminum Company
  • Anaconda Aluminum Company
  • Anaconda Copper Ming Company
  • Anaconda Copper Mining Company
  • Anaconda Copper Mining Company
  • Anaconda Copper Mining Company
  • Anaconda Forest Products
  • Anaconda Smelter
  • Armstrong Contracting & Supply Corporation (ACandS, Inc.)
  • Armstrong Contracting & Supply Corporation (ACandS, Inc.)
  • Armstrong Contracting & Supply Corporation (ACandS, Inc.)
  • Asarco Inc
  • Big Sky Linen & Uniform
  • Billings Laundry Company
  • Billings Mutual Heating Company
  • Billings Sugar Company
  • Billings Utility Company
  • Boston and Montana Con. Copper and Silver Ming Company
  • Boston and Montana Consolidated
  • Boston and Montana Reduction Department
  • Bozeman Montana College
  • Brick & Builders Supply
  • Brick & Builders Supply
  • Broeder Lumber Company
  • Butte General Electric Company
  • Butte Lighting and Power Company
  • C and C Plywood Corp
  • Cascades Plywood Company
  • Cenex Harvest States
  • Cenex Refinery
  • Chicago, Milwaukee, St Paul & Pacific Railroad
  • Clausen Refrigeration Co.
  • Colstrip Power Plant
  • Conrey Peacer Mining Company
  • Consolidated Copper and Silver Mining Company
  • Continental Oil Company
  • Copper and Silver Mining Company
  • Copper and Silver Mining Company
  • Corette Plant Power Station
  • Cyprus Industrial Minerals Company
  • Diehl Lumber Company
  • Dupois Lumber Company
  • E.J. Bartells Company
  • East Butte Copper Mining Company
  • Evans Products Company
  • Exxon Mobil Corporation
  • Farmer’s Union Co-Op Oil
  • Farmers Union Central Exchange
  • Fiberglas Engineering & Supply Company
  • Forsyth Elect Light Power Company
  • Forzley Sales Company
  • Fuce Plant
  • Geismar Industries Inc
  • General Mills
  • Glacier Production Corp
  • Glasgow Air Force Base
  • Glendive Ht. Light and Power Company
  • Granite Bi Metalic Cons Mg. Company
  • Great Western Sugar Company
  • Great Western Sugar Company
  • Heartland Grain Fuels
  • Helena Power Transmission Company
  • Helena Transmission Company
  • Hoerner Waldorf Corporation
  • Holly Sugar Corporation
  • Humble Oil & Refining Company
  • Intermountain Lumber Company
  • J. Neils Lumber Company
  • J. Neils Lumber Company
  • J.E. Corette Plant
  • Kaiser Cement & Gypsum
  • Kelly Heating Plant
  • Laurel Oil and Refining Company
  • Legal Tender Mining Company
  • Lewis & Clark Power Plant
  • Libby Mines
  • Midland Sugar Company
  • Missoula Electric Cooperative
  • Missoula Light and Water Company
  • Missoula White Pine Sash
  • Montana Coal and Iron Company
  • Montana Ore Purchasing Company
  • Montana Power & Light Company
  • Montana Power Company
  • Montana Refining
  • Montana State Hospital
  • Montana State University
  • Montana-Dakota Utilities
  • Montana-Dakota Utilities Company
  • Moulton Gold and Silver Mining Company
  • Moulton Mining Company
  • National Mining and Exploring Company
  • No Butte Mining Company
  • Northern Pacific Railroad Company
  • Northern Pacific Railway Company
  • Northern Pacific Railway Company
  • Northwestern Improvement Company
  • Northwestern Improvement Company
  • Original Butte Mining Company
  • Pack River Lumber Company
  • Phillips 66 Billings Refinery
  • Phillips Petroleum Company
  • Phoenix Electric Plant
  • Pittsburg and Montana Copper Company
  • Plum Creek Lumber Company
  • Rocky Mountain Bell Telephone Company
  • Saltenberger Plumbing & Heating
  • Sidney Montana Powerhouse
  • Sierra Talc and Clay Company Inc
  • Smurfit-Stone Container Corp.
  • St. Regis Paper Company
  • St. Vincent’s Healthcare
  • State College of Agricultural and Mechanical Arts.
  • Stauffer Chemical
  • Stauffer Chemical Company
  • Stone Container Corporation
  • Sulphuric Acid Plant
  • Texaco, Inc.
  • The Anaconda Company
  • Timber Butte Milling Company
  • Union Oil Company
  • Union Oil Company
  • Union Tank Car Company
  • United Sierra Div Cyprus Mines Corp
  • United States Army Air Base
  • United States Gypsum Company
  • University of Montana
  • US Air Force
  • Utah Idaho Sugar Company
  • Van Evan Company
  • Victor Chemical Company
  • Waldorf-Hoerner Paper Products Company
  • Warm Springs State Hospital
  • Water and Electric Light Company
  • Western Ranch Supply Company
  • Wyo-Ben, Inc.
  • Yale Oil Corporation

Find Mesothelioma Doctors, Lawyers and Asbestos Exposure Sites Near You

Find Mesothelioma Doctors, Lawyers and Asbestos Exposure Sites Near You
Sources [+]
  • 1

    Bowker, Michael. Fatal Deception: The Terrifying True Story of How Asbestos is Killing America. (New York: Touchstone, 2003.)

  • 2

    Cabrera-Santiago, Manuel et al. “Prevalence of Asbestos-Related Disease Among Electrical Power Generation Workers in Puerto Rico.” Presentation at American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, 2007.

  • 3

    Curwood, Steve. “Libby, Montana.” Living On Earth. Radio broadcast, 17 August 2007.