Six miles north of Libby, vermiculite was mined by the Zonolite Corporation from 1919-1963 and then by W.R. Grace from 1963 until the mine closure in 1990. The vermiculite contained a naturally occurring amphibole asbestos mixture which is particularly toxic to human beings. Members of the Libby community were widely exposed to asbestos-contaminated vermiculite ore through multiple pathways. The asbestos found in Libby appears to be unique in terms of its molecular composition and disease progression and is called Libby amphibole asbestos. The community wide asbestos exposure has been identified as the largest environmental and public health disaster in the nation.
In 2000, the Center for Asbestos Related Disease (CARD) was established at St. John's Lutheran Hospital to work with patients and provide diagnosis and treatment of asbestos related illnesses due to Libby Amphibole exposure. As the number of cases and patients grew, CARD separated from St. John's in 2003 and formed a stand-alone non-profit 501c3 community-based organization. This allowed CARD to expand from just treatment to include research and outreach.
The Center for Asbestos Related Disease (CARD) Foundation was created as a funding mechanism for the CARD clinic. The CARD Foundation develops lasting relationships to generate financial resources that facilitate current and future needs of the CARD Clinic.
Established in 2008 as a 501 c 3 our immediate goals of the Foundation are to:
- Raise support to fund the healthcare, research, and outreach needs of CARD.
- Continue to host the BIG SKY BASH concert event, bringing well know bands to perform in Libby, MT, while raising funds for CARD.
- Fund and grow an endowment.
- Create partnerships with other local and national healthcare and research foundations.