Asbestos Exposure: The Deadliest States in America
Prized for its fire retardant characteristics, asbestos was widely used in construction materials and as insulation starting in the late 1800s. Although their employees began to experience the toxic effects of asbestos exposure as early as the 1920s, many irresponsible corporations continued to use this toxic mineral for decades more.
Asbestos Exposure: the Basics
Asbestos is most likely to cause harm when it is disturbed. Tiny fibers become airborne and can lodge in the lungs, potentially leading to pleural mesothelioma, lung cancer, or other asbestos-related diseases. These diseases can take years or even decades to manifest, often appearing long after the time of exposure.
Welders, pipe fitters, construction workers, and ship builders, especially those who worked in those professions between the 1930s and the 1980s, are most likely to have been exposed to harmful levels of asbestos. Because asbestos was used in everything from drywall to cloth to cigarette filters, however, almost anyone could have come into contact with asbestos fibers.
States with Highest Asbestos Exposure
Residents of some states are more vulnerable to asbestos exposure than others. Former Rust Belt states like Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania were home to industrial operations that exposed many employees and their family members to asbestos. Detroit is famous as the birthplace of the auto industry and that industry used asbestos in brake linings and other car parts throughout much of the 20th century. Asbestos mines add to the exposure risk for Pennsylvania residents. Numerous companies that used asbestos had operations throughout the Rust Belt states.
One mine in Libby, Montana supplied vermiculite to manufacturing facilities across the United States for many years. Vermiculite is a heat-resistant mineral used in insulation and other products. While pure vermiculite is not known to be hazardous, the Libby, Montana mine also contained asbestos, so much of the vermiculite from Libby was tainted with asbestos. This exposed many people in Montana to grave health consequences with many residents eventually dying from asbestos exposure. The asbestos tainted vermiculite from Libby spread asbestos contamination to plants and processing centers across the country, and then on to consumers and workers.
The Johns-Manville Corporation, based in New York, was one of the first companies to find industrial uses for asbestos. Johns-Manville was the first company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to the volume of lawsuits by people who were sick with asbestos-related diseases. The Manville Trust was the first big asbestos trust established to secure payments for future victims of asbestos exposure. New York State was also home to other heavy industry and to shipyards that have sickened thousands of residents.
Florida was once home to several asbestos-processing sites. The state’s high rate of asbestos deaths may also stem from the fact that many people move there after retirement. Because mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases take so long to show up, more than half of the people diagnosed with these illnesses are over 65.
California has the highest number of deaths due to asbestos exposure each year. California residents may face an array of asbestos risks, from the shipyards along the coast and contaminated industrial sites. In addition, asbestos occurs naturally in the soils and in underground deposits in the state. Asbestos mining has led to the contamination of at least one entire town in California.
Texas has experienced a large number of cases of mesothelioma and other asbestos disease due to the popularity of asbestos as an insulating material in the state’s largest industry, the oil industry.
Although the population of Washington State is much smaller than California, New York, or Texas, the state has a high rate of asbestos disease. In addition to manufacturing and shipping, Washington’s timber industry and paper mills also served as sources of asbestos exposure. Washington residents also have the add-on risk of naturally occurring asbestos in their environment.
Asbestos Patients Find Relief
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or anther asbestos disease, you may be entitled to compensation. The corporations responsible for your asbestos exposure can be held to account through the legal system. Here’s the good news: no matter what state you live in and no matter where you were when you were exposed to asbestos, you can file a lawsuit against those responsible for your pain and suffering. You don’t even need to live in the same state where your lawsuit is filed.
You can also choose one of the top asbestos law firms in the country to represent you. More good news: that law firm doesn’t have to be located in the same state where you live either. At Kazan Law, we feel so strongly about getting recompense for people who are ill because of asbestos exposure that we travel to work with clients throughout the country. We have filed suit against corporations that negligently exposed people to asbestos on behalf of clients all over the United States.