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Asbestos exposure in the United States has resulted in an estimated 3,000 new mesothelioma cases each year. Asbestos is still not banned in the U.S. This puts people at risk of developing asbestos-related diseases. When this happens, patients have specialized treatment and legal options available throughout the U.S.


01. Mesothelioma by State

Asbestos and Mesothelioma Information by State

Exposure to asbestos has resulted in mesothelioma cases and deaths in every state in the country. Asbestos was used widely throughout the United States for much of the twentieth century. It was common in homes, ships, oil refineries and many other locations. Regulators began to enact asbestos laws in the 1970s and 1980s but did not impose a total ban on asbestos use. This leaves people at risk of exposure.

Asbestos exposure in the U.S. may cause mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. The current exposure avenues in the U.S. include:

  • Continuing asbestos use: The U.S. continues to use asbestos. Certain industries still import asbestos-containing products or use asbestos in manufacturing processes. A full ban on asbestos would put a stop to this activity.
  • Naturally occurring asbestos: Certain locations in the U.S. have naturally occurring asbestos deposits. Public health initiatives can increase safety, awareness and limit exposure risk.
  • Past asbestos use: Many asbestos products and materials are still around from past use. Removal and abatement help dispose of asbestos. Removal projects should be conducted by licensed professionals.

Before the 1980s, companies throughout the U.S. used asbestos. Large companies, such as John Deere, Sherwin-Williams and Westinghouse Electric, used or manufactured asbestos products. These companies put workers, workers’ families and consumers at risk of asbestos exposure and related diseases.

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02. Mesothelioma Treatment by State

Mesothelioma Treatment Options by State

The presence of asbestos throughout the U.S. puts people at continued risk of developing serious diseases. When this happens, mesothelioma doctors are available at top cancer centers and hospitals throughout the U.S. They can help develop treatment plans based on patients’ individual cases. Mesothelioma treatment options may include surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. Patients may also be eligible for emerging treatments through clinical trials.

Treatment may help extend survival and improve quality of life for patients. Researchers continue to explore new treatment methods, including innovative drugs and treatment combinations. Their research continues to contribute to improvements in mesothelioma prognosis.

Mesothelioma patients can seek treatment from specialists near them. Patients may also travel to mesothelioma cancer centers in other states, depending on individual needs.

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03. Mesothelioma Lawyers by State

Mesothelioma Lawyers and Legal Help by State

Asbestos attorneys can help mesothelioma patients in every state explore their legal options. Patients and their loved ones may be eligible for financial compensation. Compensation may be available from lawsuits, which can result in mesothelioma settlements or verdicts. Other options include asbestos trust fund claims and workers’ compensation. Veterans who develop an asbestos-related disease may be able to file a claim with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Patients can find nationally-recognized asbestos law firms with experience handling asbestos litigation in their states. Attorneys from these firms can help patients along each step of the legal process. This includes filing asbestos lawsuits and litigating cases on behalf of victims. They can also determine where to file a case and will know about any filing deadlines.

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04. Mesothelioma Cases in the U.S.

Understanding Mesothelioma Cases in the United States

Nationwide statistics show mesothelioma continues to impact people in all 50 states. Past use and the lack of a ban means people in the U.S. continue to be at risk of asbestos exposure.

Mesothelioma Incidence in the United States

About 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Some states have a higher incidence of mesothelioma than others. Many factors may influence a state’s mesothelioma rate, including:

  • Age of residents
  • History of asbestos industries in the state
  • Natural asbestos deposits
  • Population

People are still at risk of exposure because of past asbestos use. For example, many old buildings still contain asbestos materials.

Latency period is the time between initial asbestos exposure and mesothelioma diagnosis.

Past asbestos exposure continues to contribute to mesothelioma incidence rates. Mesothelioma has a long latency period that can range from 10 to 50 years. This means people exposed to asbestos decades ago may still develop mesothelioma. Incidence of mesothelioma diagnosis is highest among people over 75 years old.

California has the highest incidence of mesothelioma. The state has a large population and a history of asbestos use in shipyards, mining and other industries. It also has naturally occurring asbestos in 42 of its 58 counties. States such as Florida, Pennsylvania, New York and Texas also have high mesothelioma incidence.

Mesothelioma Cases by State From 1999 – 2018

The following states had the highest mesothelioma cancer incidence from 1999 to 2018:

Source: CDC Wonder

Mesothelioma Deaths by State

Mesothelioma prognosis has been historically poor. Between 1999 and 2020, nearly 55,000 deaths from mesothelioma occurred in the U.S. New treatment options have helped extend survival. As a result, prognosis has been improving in recent years. Still, mesothelioma continues to cause deaths in every state.

Mesothelioma deaths by state vary. Mesothelioma cancer statistics between 1999 and 2020 reveal each state reporting more than 100 deaths. This amounted to a nationwide death rate of 0.8 per 100,000 people. For the same period of time, California had the highest number of deaths at almost 5,500. Florida and Pennsylvania both had more than 3,000 deaths. New York, Texas, Ohio and Illinois have also seen high mesothelioma mortality numbers.

While mesothelioma diagnoses and deaths continue across the country, research has led to improved survival rates for patients with better treatments and diagnostic methods. With no full ban of asbestos in sight, mesothelioma research is crucial to improve incidence and death rates in the United States.

Treatment Options May Extend Mesothelioma Survival

Recent years have seen improvements in mesothelioma survival rates. Continued research and improved therapy and drug options have helped improve outcomes. Mesothelioma patients in every state have access to specialized treatment options. Mesothelioma doctors can create individualized treatment plans for patients. These plans may help improve prognosis and quality of life.

Several factors can influence treatment outcomes, including the patient’s type of mesothelioma. Peritoneal mesothelioma patients have responded well to surgery with a heated chemotherapy wash. One study found this type of treatment improved 5-year survival from 44% to 75%.

Pleural mesothelioma patients have responded well to immunotherapy with Opdivo® and Yervoy®. A study compared immunotherapy survival with patients receiving chemotherapy. It found median survival improved by almost 30% in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma patients should seek care from a specialist who can help patients explore innovative options for treatment.

05. Asbestos in the U.S.

History of Asbestos in the United States

The U.S. has a long history of mesothelioma and asbestos use, dating back to the mid-1800s. More than a century of asbestos use continues to impact the country today. Products manufactured with asbestos ranged from car parts to cosmetics. Many of these products are still in use. Consumers can buy them off stores’ shelves. Legacy asbestos can still be found in schools, homes and commercial buildings. People in the U.S. may still be at risk of exposure that can lead to mesothelioma, lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases.

Asbestos Risks in the United States

People in the U.S. may be at risk of asbestos exposure from past and current use of asbestos. From the 1930s to the 1970s, it was mined and imported for use in thousands of products in the U.S., putting workers and consumers at high risk. Consumption peaked in the 1970s, at more than 700,000 tons annually. At that point, the negative health effects of asbestos were already known.

The link between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma was established as early as 1960. Asbestos is a natural, fibrous mineral that can be found in deposits across the country. Asbestos fibers can become embedded in organ linings and tissues when it is inhaled or ingested. Embedded fibers can lead to mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and other diseases.

Asbestos companies used the mineral in equipment and to manufacture products. Workers at these jobsites risked occupational asbestos exposure. They also risked exposing their loved ones to asbestos through secondhand exposure. This secondary exposure happened when workers left jobsites and carried fibers on their clothes and on their person. Examples of jobsites that commonly used asbestos include:

Other Americans also risked non-occupational exposure from asbestos products. For example, asbestos was used in insulation, ceiling and flooring material and other products used to build houses. It is also present in some cosmetics and other consumer products and may be present in talcum powder.

Asbestos Risks in the United States Military

Many U.S. veterans risked asbestos exposure during military service. Asbestos use was common in the military before the 1980s. A variety of products and equipment at Army bases, Air Force bases and Navy bases and ships contained asbestos. As a result, veterans have a high risk of developing asbestos diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer.

Veterans exposed to asbestos during their military service who develop an asbestos disease may be eligible to file a claim with the VA or file a lawsuit. Veterans may be eligible for a number of different benefits, including financial compensation and disability benefits. A mesothelioma lawyer can help veterans file and process VA claims.

The Push for an Asbestos Ban

Although more than 60 countries worldwide have banned asbestos, the U.S. is not one of them. Advocates in the U.S. have been pushing for an asbestos ban for decades. Asbestos became less common starting in the 1970s because of laws, regulations and greater awareness of its risks. In 2002, the last asbestos mine in the country closed.

However, this does not mean that the risk of asbestos has been eliminated. People in the U.S. still risk exposure from old buildings and homes, mechanical work, naturally occurring asbestos and other areas. It is also still legal to import asbestos and use it in small amounts in certain processes. In 2021, the U.S. imported 320 tons of asbestos.

Advocates argue that only a full ban on asbestos can prevent exposure. They point out that any level of asbestos exposure can lead to a person developing an asbestos disease.

Though not fully banned, new restrictions on asbestos were enacted in the 1970s and 1980s. A series of laws and regulations resulted in a significant decline in asbestos use, including:

  • 1971 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Classification: The EPA classified asbestos as a hazardous air pollutant.
  • 1976 National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommendation: NIOSH became the first U.S. government agency to recommend a complete ban on asbestos in the workplace.
  • 1989 Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) Partial Asbestos Ban: The TSCA banned the manufacture, importation, processing and distribution of certain asbestos products. The ban included various paper products, flooring felt and other items.

These and other laws and regulations have helped limit asbestos use in the U.S. Efforts to implement a full ban have continued. In 2016, the Lautenberg Act passed, which gives the EPA the power to ban asbestos.

In 2022, the EPA proposed a rule to ban uses of chrysotile asbestos. Chrysotile is currently the only type of asbestos being actively imported into the U.S. The proposed rule would still not amount to a full ban, but it would be a step in the right direction.

A full asbestos ban in the U.S. would help prevent exposure and further decrease rates of mesothelioma. Until then, asbestos exposure will continue to cause mesothelioma risk for people in the U.S.


Find Mesothelioma Doctors, Lawyers and Asbestos Exposure Sites Near You

Find Mesothelioma Doctors, Lawyers and Asbestos Exposure Sites Near You