'It's like sacking feather'

  • Lester Skramstad

    Jeremy Lurgio photo

Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story.

Former Grace worker Lester Skramstad is slowly dying from asbestos-related diseases. His wife and two children, now in their 40s, have also contracted asbestosis. The following is taken from his testimony in court.

Lester Skramstad: "We built a screen, jig sort of a situation, that we would pour (asbestos) on one end of it and it would vibrate and shake and just trying to get the rocks and things like that out of it. It just kept vibrating, just like a sieve, and we had about a 30-gallon garbage can on the end of it there. And when we figured it was as pure as we could get it, we put it in that garbage can and then we took it in the office area there and put it in bags.

"A certain amount of it got away from us, but there was quite a lot of dust involved in the whole process. (We stood) right next to it. We had to be there all the time to just keep an eye on it. It would take us about a week to get a pickup load full of it done ...

"It's like sacking feather. You know, one guy would hold the sack and the other one would scoop it in there with a dust pan or shovel. Then we would sew the sacks."

Copyright © 2000 HCN and Mark Matthews

High Country News Classifieds