If you have worked and lived in Arkansas for a significant amount of time, there is a chance that you were exposed to asbestos at home or in the workplace. Prolonged exposure to asbestos can lead to serious health problems including pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer. As a service to people who live in Arkansas, we have compiled the following information about asbestos and mesothelioma in Arkansas.
While Arkansas does not have much naturally occurring asbestos, citizens of the state can still be exposed at work and home.
From 1999-2015, 264 Arkansas residents died from mesothelioma
Arkansas has a mesothelioma death rate of approximately 5 people per million (Source: CDC)
Arkansas only has two known sites of naturally occurring asbestos in the Hot Springs area and Russellville area (Source: USGS)
Asbestos was used widely in a number of industries, causing exposure rates to be especially high in Jonesboro, Little Rock, Pine Bluff, and Fayetteville (Source: USGS)
02. Asbestos in Workplaces
Asbestos Use Across Arkansas Industries
Asbestos has been employed in several industrial areas within the state of Arkansas, bringing workers and others into close proximity to the deadly substance.
Historically, one of the biggest manufacturing names in Arkansas was Reynolds Metals, which is famous for its Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil. The company first started mining operations in Bauxite, Arkansas, a town named after a type of aluminum ore (bauxite), and for a time the company operated plants in Arkadelphia and Malvern, both of which were closed in 1985. Asbestos was used in the aluminum smelting process, due to the high levels of heat involved. Other manufacturers used asbestos as well, including lumber manufacturers run by various companies, one of which was Singer, the famous maker of sewing machines.
Until 1989, the primary provider for electricity in the state was Arkansas Power & Light (AP&L), although some cities had their own power generation facilities, such as Jonesboro’s City Water & Light plant. Power plants frequently used asbestos in insulation and other parts, due to the material’s resistance to electricity and heat created as part of the power generating process.
The University of Arkansas has had problems with asbestos in its buildings for many years, including campuses in both Fayetteville and Jonesboro. Asbestos has also been found on site at Arkansas State College and the State Teachers College.
Although it is not as big of an industry as other states, Arkansas has a fair number of open-cut mining and strip mining operations. These types of mines can be particularly harmful to nearby residents and communities, especially if asbestos occurs naturally with the mined materials.
While Arkansas does not have as many oil refineries as some states, several have been known to expose their employees to asbestos, including the Tri-State Refining Company in Wilson, the Helena Cotton Oil Company in Helena, and Cross Oil in Smackover.
A 2013 report indicated from the commander of Little Rock Air Force Base indicates that materials containing asbestos were used in the base’s buildings, and that many of those buildings still contained asbestos as of that report. The base had previously had problems with asbestos as well, such as in October 1994 when an emergency order was issued to resolve problems of “eminent release of asbestos to the open air.”
Several locations in Arkansas have been added to the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of Superfund sites for various reasons, among them the presence of asbestos-containing materials.
Mountain Pine Pressure Treating
The Mountain Pine Pressure Treating site in Plainview, AR, was home to a 95-acre plot of land used to treat wood from the 1960s through the mid-1980s. The primary concerns of the EPA were pentachlorophenol (PCP) and copper chromated arsenate (CCA), two chemicals used in the wood treatment process. These chemicals were stored in large tanks that contained asbestos, and asbestos was also found in the buildings on the land, requiring abatement to be performed as part of the cleanup. The EPA removed the Mountain Pine Pressure Treating site from the Superfund list in 2005 after six years of cleanup efforts.
04. Exposure in Cities
Arkansas Cities Where Asbestos Exposure Occurred
Read more about large jobsites where asbestos exposure occurred in the major cities of Arkansas. If you or a loved one worked at any of these sites in Arkansas, you may be at risk to develop malignant mesothelioma. Click on any link below to view a complete list of work sites in that city where employees were exposed to asbestos.
Beyond the major cities and towns in Arkansas, 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.
Arkansas Directory of Asbestos Work Sites
Select a city to see a list of work sites where asbestos exposure occurred.