Terry Trent has been raising his voice about asbestos since the ‘80s.
“I’m a very squeaky wheel about this subject,” he said.
Trent first started caring about asbestos when found it on his property in Shingle Springs, Calif., which is east of Sacramento, near El Dorado Hills. In 1986, Trent and his wife bought 20 acres and as they were building their dream house, Trent dug up a ropy vein of tremolite.
Trent, who has degrees in biology and experience in biochemical research, soon noticed that tremolite ran throughout his property. He took air and soil samples and had them tested. He talked to epidemiologists and physicians. He learned as much as he could about what he was dealing with and how he and his wife might be affected.
“I’ve done my homework on asbestos,” he said.
When he learned the dangers of tremolite, he hauled in truck loads of clean fill dirt and covered two acres with two feet of soil to bury the asbestos. That temporarily mitigated the problem, but before long, the veins resurfaced, he said.
In 1996, Trent’s neighbors wanted to build a house upwind of Trent’s property. Although he told them the dangers of what lay in the soil, they continued with excavation of the property and built a house.
“I tried to tell them the entire area was saturated with asbestos and that we didn’t want the dust blowing into our house,” said Trent. “And they just laughed about that.”
Trent and his wife walked away from the 20 acres and the house they had built overlooking Sacramento. And Trent has been telling people about the dangers of tremolite ever since.
He’s gone from “coast to coast” informing people about the dangers of breathing asbestos and trying to convince the government to give the issue the regulatory respect he feels it deserves. He started with the state of California and eventually went to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Department of Toxins and to the U.S. asbestos coordinator, Trent said.
“I started with California, and I went as far as the very top man in the United States,” he said. “They all passed the buck.”
Trent first learned about the Libby situation in 1996. He continues to preach awareness about asbestos and is paying close attention to the ongoing trial of U.S. v. W.R. Grace & Co. He is a frequent contributor to the Grace Case blog comments section.
Trent graduated from the University of California, Davis with a bachelor’s degree in biology and went through the research program there in biological sciences and biochemistry, researching toxins in marijuana and LSD.
Trent lives in Auburn, Calif., and is a cost engineer in the construction industry. He is from Lake Tahoe, Calif., and believes that his childhood breathing the clean Sierra air has made him hypersensitive “to situations where people are breathing pollutants.”
– Will Grant