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U.S. Minerals fined for exposing Anaconda employees to arsenic

A company that admitted to exposing workers to arsenic at its former Montana plant in Anaconda was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court.

Illinois-based U.S. Minerals was sentenced for Clean Air Act violations that regulators say exposed employees to arsenic at its Anaconda facility which closed in June.

That plant converted raw material from a copper mining waste pile into roofing products.

The corporation pleaded guilty last summer to exposing employees to inorganic arsenic. Arsenic exposure is known to cause a variety of lung and skin diseases.

U.S District Judge Dana Christensen sentenced U.S. Minerals to a maximum of five years of probation and a $393,200 fine. That’s on top of civil penalties levied by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration totaling $106,800.

U.S. Minerals was also ordered to enact a medical monitoring plan for workers at its shuttered Montana plant and implement a nationwide environmental health and safety plan at its five other plants.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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