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If you live in Alaska and have worked there for a significant amount of time, there is a chance that you were exposed to asbestos in the workplace. Prolonged exposure to asbestos can lead to serious health problems including mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer and other non-malignant lung impairments.


01. Statistics

Mesothelioma and Asbestos Statistics in Alaska

  • 80 Alaskan residents died of mesothelioma from 1999 – 2015
  • Alaska has a high mesothelioma death rate of about 21 people per million each year (Source: CDC)
  • Anchorage Borough in particular faces high mesothelioma rates, ranking among the top 50 counties in the U.S. with a mesothelioma death rate of about 20 per million (Source: CDC)
  • Naturally occurring asbestos is common throughout Alaska, and can be found in the Panhandle region, along the Yukon River, and around the Kobuk Valley National Park and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park (Source: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry)
02. Asbestos in Workplaces

Asbestos Industry in Alaska

While asbestos is fairly common naturally in the Alaskan environment, the mineral was also widely used in a variety of industries in the state.

Manufacturing:

Various manufacturers, like pulp mills that convert wood chips into a fiber board to be made into paper, use asbestos in their processes because of its heat resistance. Some of these operations in Alaska, like the Ketchikan Pulp Company, potentially exposed workers to the toxin.

Construction:

Due to the high amount of natural asbestos in Alaska, requests for gravel became quite complicated. Much of the gravel would contain some amount of natural asbestos, which put locations throughout the state at risk for contamination. The growing demand led to Alaska developing laws to regulate the use of natural asbestos.

Power Plants:

A lot of equipment in power plants has been created with asbestos-containing materials because of the risk for heat damage, fires, or combustion. Plants in Alaska, such as Beluga Power Station and the University of Alaska Power Plant, put workers at a higher risk of developing mesothelioma.

Oil Refineries:

Companies like Arco Chemical Company and Tesoro Alaska Company used asbestos throughout the many facets of operation. Studies have shown an unusually high rate of pleural mesothelioma among oil refinery workers.

Shipbuilding:

With the largest coastline in the United States, Alaska had a need for ship repair and shipbuilding. At shipyards like Seward’s Marine Industrial Center, workers likely were exposed to asbestos often because of its heavy usage on ships.

Military:

Veterans, especially those in the Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, are at higher risk of mesothelioma because of the wide asbestos use in all branches of the military. In Alaska, veterans risked exposure at bases like Fort Richardson and the Kodiak Naval Station.

03. Superfund Sites

Alaska Shipyards and Superfund Sites

Alaska has two shipyards and ten Superfund sites throughout the state, including one where the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) noted asbestos concerns among other environmental issues. Alaska also had a few shipyards, known to heavily use asbestos, that put many workers at risk.

Arctic Surplus (Fairbanks)

The Arctic Surplus Salvage Yard was a private 24-acre property that accepted various military equipment, asbestos insulation, and other hazardous chemicals. It had previously been owned by the Department of Defense, but was privately operated by salvage companies from the 1950s-1980s. In 1988, the ADEC conducted an inspection and found piles of bulk asbestos, significant levels of metal in the soil, and thousands of drums of liquid waste. Arctic Surplus was added to the Superfund list in 1990. Cleanup of the site entailed the removal of 22,000 pounds of asbestos, lead battery casings, and thousands of drums of waste. After a long cleanup effort and continued safety evaluations, the site was taken off the Superfund List in 2006.

Seward Marine Industrial Center

The Seward Marine Industrial Center, located on the eastern side of Resurrection Bay, encompasses 15 square miles along the coast. Over the years, it has grown into a full-service shipyard. The center allows for storage of ships of all sizes, as well as maintenance and repair. Because asbestos was so widely used on ships, whether for insulation or in sealing compounds, shipyard workers face a high risk of asbestos exposure. Many times, repair or maintenance can involve sanding down or disturbing these asbestos materials in some way, making the dangerous fibers become airborne.

Seward Ship’s Drydock

Seward Ship’s Drydock opened in 1973 primarily as a service center for ships, helping with maintenance and repair. Asbestos was a common material used on ships through the 1970s, putting all the shipyard workers at great risk of exposure as they worked. In the 1980s, this small shipyard expanded up the coast to develop into the full service Seward Marine Industrial Center, which still operates today.

04. Exposure in Cities

Alaska Cities Where Asbestos Exposure Occurred

Asbestos exposure on the job is known to have occurred in the following Alaska cities. Prolonged asbestos exposure can cause the terminal cancer mesothelioma as well as other asbestos-related diseases. Click on any city below to view a complete list of commercial, military and residential job sites where asbestos exposure occurred in that city.

05. Other Work Sites

Asbestos Risks at Other Alaska Work Sites

Beyond the major cities and towns in Alaska, asbestos exposure has also occurred at a number of other job sites. Select a town to see the list of its work sites where asbestos exposure occurred. Asbestos exposure at any one of the sites revealed could put a worker at risk to develop pleural mesothelioma.

, Alaska Jobsites Where Asbestos Exposure Occurred

  • A P De Nange Lumber
  • Ac & S Inc
  • Acme Brick Company
  • Alaska Insulation
  • Alaska Juneau Gold Mining Company
  • Alaska Lumber & Pulp Company
  • Alaska Native Medical Hospital
  • Alaska Pipeline Service Company
  • Alaska Pump & Supply, Inc.
  • Alaska Steamship Company
  • Alaska Treadwell Gold Mining Company
  • Alyeska Pipeline Service Company
  • American Oil Company
  • Amoco Production Company
  • Anchorage International Airport
  • Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility
  • Aquatrain
  • Arco Chemical Company
  • Arkansas Cotton Mill Inc
  • Arkansas Glass Container Corporation
  • Aurora Energy
  • Aurora Power Resources, Inc.
  • Ballasting Area
  • Beluga Power Station
  • Bernice Lake Gas Turbine
  • Bernice Lake Power Station
  • Bernice Lake Powerhouse
  • British Petroleum, Flow Station
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • C.R. Lewis Company, Incorporated
  • Campbell Creek Pump Station
  • Central Heating Plant
  • Chester Creek Sewage Pump Station
  • Chevron Asphalt Company
  • Chugach Electric
  • Chugach Electric – Gas Turbine
  • Chugach Electric Association Inc.
  • City of Fairbanks Power Plant
  • College Station
  • Collier Carbon & Chemical Company
  • Dierks Forests
  • Dock – Fire Lake Lodge
  • E C Andrews
  • Eielson Air Force Base
  • Elmendorf Air Force Base
  • Evans Jones Coal Company
  • Fairbanks Exploration Company
  • Fairbanks Municipal Power
  • Fairbanks Public Utilities
  • Fort Richardson
  • Fort Richardson
  • Fort Wainnright
  • Fort Wainwright – Manholes
  • Galena Radar Base
  • General Electric – Turbine
  • Golden Valley Electric Power Plant
  • Greater Anchorage Area Borough Sewage Plant
  • Green Bay Packaging
  • Healy River Coal Corp
  • Helena Gas and Electric Company
  • Home Power Company
  • Hope Brick Works
  • Hotel Captain Cook
  • Industrial Air Products
  • Industsrial Refrigeration & Association
  • Jualin Mines Company
  • Jualin Mines Company
  • Juneau Hospital
  • Ketchikan Hospital
  • Ketchikan Pulp
  • Ketchikan Pulp and Paper Corp
  • Ketchikan Pulp and Paper Corp
  • Ketchikan Pulp Company
  • Ketchikan Pulp Mill
  • Ketchikan Spruce Mills
  • Knik Arm Power Plant
  • Kodiak Naval Station
  • Ladd Air Force Base
  • Liquid Air, Inc.
  • Locher Company
  • Mallow Construction Company
  • Mallow Construction Company, Alaska Freight Lines, 111 26th Ave.
  • Matanuska Electric Association
  • Municipal Ulitities System
  • Nelbro Packing Company
  • New England Fish Company
  • Nome Mining Company
  • Northern Consolidated Hangar
  • Northern Roofing & Siding
  • Northwest Light and Power Company
  • Pan American Petroleum Company
  • Petro Star Company
  • Phillips Petroleum Company
  • Pine Bluff Col
  • Poinsett Lumber and ManufacturingCompany
  • Process Piping
  • Procur Piping
  • R L Lawler Inc
  • R. L. Lawler, Inc.
  • Ryan & Haworth Company
  • Sea Land – Fairbanks Alaska
  • Seward Marine industrial Center
  • Seward Ship’s Drydock
  • Shell Oil
  • Shell Oil – On Shore Facility
  • Shell Oil – Platform A
  • Siems Drake Puget Sound
  • Standard Oil
  • Standard Oil
  • Standard Oil
  • Standard Oil
  • Stangard Brake Shoe &
  • Tesoro Alaska Company
  • Trans-Alaska Pipeline System
  • U.S. Rubber Company
  • U.S. Smelting & Refining & Mining Company
  • Union Carbide
  • Union Collier
  • Union Oil Company
  • Union Oil Company
  • Union Oil Company – Mono Pod
  • United States Army Corps of Engineers
  • United States Naval Air Base
  • United States Naval Air Facilities
  • United States Submarine Base
  • University of Alaska
  • University of Alaska
  • University of Alaska – Power Plant
  • Unocal Chemicals Division
  • US Air Force, Eielson AFB
  • US Air Force, Ladd AFB
  • US Air Force, Shemoya AFB
  • Us Naval Air Base
  • Us Naval Air Base
  • War Department. Cold Weather Exp Air Base
  • Water Jacket Insulation #2
  • Well House #10
  • Westinghouse Electric Corporation
  • Williams Alaska Petroleum
  • Yukon Gold Company


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