The trial in the case of WR Grace has now started according to recent reports, after the company was accused of knowingly accusing the residents of the town of Libby in Montana to deadly asbestos, resulting in the illness or death of around twelve hundred people.

The defense team for the company has said that there was no conspiracy involved in the exposure, although the prosecution has described the exposure of being a secret. The company operated a vermiculite mine in the area, manufacturing a toxic material that was used all over the country in a variety of applications.

David Uhlmann, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School, said: “There’s never been a prosecution in the United States where so many people have been sickened or killed as a result of environmental crime.”

The exposure to asbestos is said to have affected not only those working in the mines, but those that came into contact with their clothing and skin, those living in the area, and those using the facilities in the area that were constructed with asbestos mine tailing that the company had donated.

Exposure to airborne asbestos dust and fibers can result in a range of health problems, including the deadly asbestos related cancer known as mesothelioma.

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