Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma in Florida
If you have worked and lived in Florida for 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 Florida, we have compiled the following information about asbestos and mesothelioma in Florida. Below you will find recent statistics about asbestos exposure and mesothelioma in Florida. We have also included descriptions of the industries and lists of cities, towns and specific job sites in Florida where asbestos exposure has occurred. Local Florida mesothelioma doctors and treatment centers are listed and recent news articles about asbestos and mesothelioma in Florida are also provided.
Florida Mesothelioma and Asbestos Statistics
Those who live or travel to Florida could be at risk of asbestos exposure at a jobsite, at home, or in public buildings and attractions.
From 1999-2015, 2,801 Florida residents died from mesothelioma
- Florida has a slightly above-average mesothelioma death rate of approximately 9 people per million (Source: CDC)
- Florida is one of only a few states that has no known naturally occurring asbestos deposits (Source: USGS)
- Union and Gadsden Counties have the highest mesothelioma mortality rates in the State of Florida (Source: Journal of the American Medical Association)
Asbestos Exposure in Florida Workplaces
Asbestos has been employed in several industrial areas within the State of Florida, bringing workers and others into close proximity to the deadly substance.
Given the large coastal areas, both on the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, Florida is home to quite a few naval shipyards, including naval air stations in Jacksonville, Mayport, and Pensacola. Commercial shipyards like the Miami-Dade Drydock also posed a threat of asbestos exposure because of the large amounts of asbestos used in the construction and repair of ocean-going vessels.
As a state with extensive power needs – especially in larger cities and tourist areas – Florida’s power generation facilities have historically contained a lot of asbestos to insulate against heat and electricity. Corporations like the Florida Power and Light Company, the Lakeland Power Plant, and the Crystal River Nuclear Plant have documented cases of mesothelioma caused by asbestos at their locations.
Sugar processing has been one agricultural activity that has led to a lot of asbestos exposure in Florida (and around the world). Companies like U.S. Sugar, Florida Cane Products, the Atlantic Sugar Association, and the Florida Sugar Corporation all have sites within the state where known asbestos exposure has occurred.
Although today Florida enjoys a 125-mile buffer protecting the peninsula from oil platforms, that was not always the case. From the 1940s – 1980s, nineteen oil wells were drilled in the state’s coastal waters, all of which likely contained asbestos due to the highly flammable and dangerous nature of drilling operations.
Asbestos Superfund Sites and Shipyards in Florida
Florida is home to a number of naval and commercial shipyards where asbestos was heavily used, as well as several sites added to the EPA’s Superfund list due to asbestos contamination.
Atlantic Dry Dock
Located at the intersection of the St. Johns River and Intracoastal Waterway, the Atlantic Dry Dock was established in 1966 to ship repair capabilities to the shipbuilding capabilities of its parent company, Atlantic Marine, Inc. The dry dock opened two additional shipyards after acquiring ADDCO Industries in 1989, thus increasing the size of both its facilities and the ships the company was able to repair. Given the large amounts of asbestos used to prevent and contain shipboard fires, these dry dock facilities were prime areas where shipyard workers faced exposure to the deadly material.
Founded in 1926, Hendry Corporation is today one of the leading shipyards in the Tampa area, specializing in repair and restoration work. Like many shipbuilding companies, Hendry relied heavily on materials containing asbestos, which at one time was found in hundreds of products used in the ship restoration process. Over the years, potentially thousands of workers have been exposed to asbestos during the repair work done at Hendry’s shipyards.
Mayport Naval Station
Commissioned in 1942, Mayport Naval Station has grown to become home to the third largest fleet concentration area in the United States due to various expansions, such as the addition of a naval auxiliary air station in 1944 and creation of a carrier basin in 1952. Since then, it has been home to many conventionally powered aircraft carriers – veritable floating cities that housed thousands of personnel and exposed them to onboard asbestos in pipes, gaskets, insulation, and other ship parts. Since its merger with the Naval Air Station in 1992, the Mayport Naval Station can accommodate as many as 14,000 active-duty personnel plus families, retirees, and civilian employees at any given time.
Pensacola Navy Yard
Once called "The Cradle of Naval Aviation," Pensacola Navy Yard is the primary training base for Navy and Marine aviators, as well as the home base for the Blue Angels precision-flying team. Located in Warrington, Florida, the history of the shipyard goes as far back as 1826, when it was a base of operations to suppress the slave trade and piracy throughout the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Over the centuries it has been decommission and rebuilt several times, and today it is as much a historic landmark as an active-duty naval base. However, it also has another lasting legacy: asbestos exposure for tens of thousands or more military personnel, family members, and civilians who have lived on the base or visited during the course of its operation.
Tampa Bay Shipbuilding
Tampa Bay Shipbuilding is the largest, most comprehensive shipyard between Mississippi and Virginia, with repair, overhaul, and full-service conversion facilities. With easy access from Sparksman Channel and docks capable of handling ships up to 907 feet long, the facility has seen its share of asbestos during its construction and restoration operations since the yard was first opened. Asbestos was found in hundreds of components used on boats of all sizes, and given the amount of business the Tampa Bay shipyard did over the years, there is little doubt that dock workers and shipbuilders alike were exposed to the carcinogen.
Asbestos Exposure in Florida Cities
Learn more about asbestos exposure in the major towns and cities of Florida by clicking on the links below. If you worked at any of the jobsites highlighted on these pages, there is a possibility that you may have been exposed to asbestos which is known to cause the terminal cancer mesothelioma.
Asbestos Exposure at Smaller Florida Sites
Asbestos exposure is also a problem if you look beyond the major cities and towns in Florida. Select a town to see the list of its job sites where asbestos exposure occurred. Asbestos exposure at any one of the work sites revealed could put a worker at risk to develop mesothelioma cancer.
Asbestos-Related News in Florida
The Florida Supreme Court has agreed to take up a case filed by Richard DeLisle who claims that his mesothelioma was caused by asbestos in cigarette filters and other products.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) has cited Maverick Demolition Company for possible asbestos violations regarding the historic John Sunday House and its adjoining carriage house. Maverick demolished the 115-year-old house on Saturday, July 16.
Author: Linda Molinari
Editor in Chief, Mesothelioma Cancer AllianceRead about Linda
Reviewer: Jennifer R. Lucarelli
Lawyer for Mesothelioma Victims and Their FamiliesRead about Jennifer
American Management Resources Corporation. "Experience: Asbestos." American Management Resources Corporation.
http://dev.zadiggle.com/amrc2/expasbestos.aspx (accessed 23 August 2010).
Cruz-Alvarez, Frank. Amici Curiae Brief of the Associated Industries of Florida. No. 99-0583, Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal, 6 September 2007.
Maltoni, C., et al. "Mesotheliomas Following Exposure to Asbestos Used in Sugar Refineries: Report of 12 Italian Cases." La Medicina del Lavoro, vol. 86, no. 5. Sep-Oct 1995.
NASA Technical Reports Server. "Technical Reports." National Aeronautic and Space Administration.
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp (accessed 23 August 2010).