As the dust settles

  Asbestos from one of the nation’s worst Superfund sites has killed over 200 in Libby, Mont., and infected hundreds more with lung disease (HCN, 3/13/00: Libby's dark secret).

To outsiders, life in Libby might seem unfathomable. But in the video documentary, Dust to Dust, director Michael Brown shows how residents manage to persevere in the shadow of a mine that spewed deadly asbestos-laced dust over the town for decades. Brown intertwines vintage footage with mine executives’ courtroom testimony, and clips of contentious town meetings, to reveal how company officials kept secret their knowledge that miners were dying.

But it’s the voices of Libby’s residents that breathe life into the story. Brown interviews some 30 people, all diagnosed with asbestos-related illness, to underscore Libby’s working-class character — stoic, reserved and once extremely loyal to the mining company. Yet this stoicism doesn’t mask the anger or bitterness many now feel.

Dust to Dust does the Libby story justice, providing a voice to describe an indescribable tragedy.

VHS copies of Dust to Dust are available for $25.00 from Michael Brown Productions, Inc., P.O. Box 121206, Arlington, Texas, 76012, or email Brown at [email protected]
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