Asbestos and Mesothelioma Statistics in New Mexico
- From 1999-2015, 226 New Mexico residents died from mesothelioma
- New Mexico has a mesothelioma mortality rate of about 7 people per million annually (Source: CDC)
- New Mexico has 11 known asbestos occurrences in the state, including 4 known deposits of chrysotile asbestos and 2 deposits of amphibole asbestos (Source: USGS)
- Asbestos deposits can largely be found in the southwestern region of the state, near Lordsburg and Deming (Source: USGS)
02. Asbestos in Workplaces
Asbestos Exposure in New Mexico Workplaces
In addition to the abundance of natural asbestos deposits, workers throughout the state were at risk of exposure on their job sites in many different industries.
The oil and gas industries are very important to New Mexico, and the state has been a major producer of oil since the 1920s, and combined employ approximately 11,000 workers. The intense industrial process of refining crude oil into products like petroleum requires high heat and chemical processes. As such, asbestos was used throughout their facilities and equipment because of its durability and resistance. Giant Refining and Navajo Refining were both known to use asbestos, meaning their workers are at risk of exposure and asbestos-related diseases.
Power plants and many other industrial buildings constructed before the 1980s are likely to contain asbestos materials, like asbestos insulation. Various equipment within these facilities, like turbines and thermal control devices, were also likely to contain the mineral. United Nuclear Corporation with headquarters in Gallup and Albuquerque Gas & Electric Company in Albuquerque relied on asbestos in their facilities.
Though New Mexico didn’t have any active asbestos mines, miners in other sites throughout the state have found trace amounts of the mineral. The New Mexico Environment Department notes findings in limestone, talc, and copper deposits among other minerals. Even with small amounts of the mineral, damaging any existing asbestos can result in exposure for these workers. Phelps Dodge Mining, Chino Mines Company, and the Kerr Mcgee Potasa Mine in Carlsbad have all come across the mineral.
Railroad workers were also at risk of asbestos exposure because of the extensive use of asbestos on steam trains. Everything from the gaskets to the engine room often relied heavily on products containing asbestos because of its extreme heat resistance. A.T. and Santa Fe Railway System and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad are two sites known to contain the toxin.
One of New Mexico’s largest employers is the Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, estimated to employ over 23,000 people. From the 1940s to the 1970s especially, asbestos was widely used throughout the military on bases and in air and naval vessels. In 1986, the U.S. Air Force acknowledged the asbestos hazards and created a system to prioritize asbestos abatement throughout their bases.
03. Superfund Sites
Asbestos Superfund Sites in New Mexico
New Mexico has had many sites over the years added to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund List because of a variety of environmental concerns and the need for extensive cleanup. One of these sites also had concerns over asbestos.
Prewitt Abandoned Refinery
The Prewitt Refinery stopped operations in 1957, but the 70-acre site still contained many environmental hazards from its old processes. Though the refinery and other structures on the site had been demolished over the years, the structures and foundations were still largely scattered over the land. Various wastes from the refinery operations, including asbestos and lead in the groundwater and soil, contaminated the area. The EPA decided to better address these issues to protect the various residents living close by to the abandoned site. Cleanup efforts have gone underway, though the agency recommends further monitoring and cleaning.
04. Exposure in Cities
New Mexico Cities with Known Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos exposure on the job is known to have occurred in the following New Mexico 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 Exposure at Smaller New Mexico Sites
Beyond the major cities and towns in New Mexico, 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.
Select a city to see a list of work sites where asbestos exposure occurred.
, New Mexico Jobsites Where Asbestos Exposure Occurred
- A.T. and Sante Fe Railway System
- Ace Building & Supply Company
- Ace Welding Service
- Alamogordo Lambert Company
- Alamogordo Lumber Company
- Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control Center
- Albuquerque and Cerrillos Coal Company (A&CCC)
- Albuquerque Elks Lodge 461
- Albuquerque Federal Building
- Albuquerque Gas and Electric Company
- Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Water Authority
- American Gypsum Company
- American Laundry and Dry Cleaning Company
- Apache Elementary School
- Aqua Fria School
- Arizona Public Service Company
- Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company
- Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company (AT&SF)
- Atomic Energy Commission
- Bates Lumber Company
- Brewer Builder’s Specialities, Inc.
- Builders Materials, Inc.
- Bureau of Reclamation
- Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad
- Burn Construction Company, Inc.
- Chaco Compressor Station
- Chino Mines Company
- Chino Mines Power Plant
- Ciniza Refinery
- City of Las Cruces Gas Distribution System
- City Power Plant
- Climax Chemical Company
- Columbia Asbestos Company
- Community Power and Light Company
- Delta Person – Generating Station
- Deseret Industries
- Duval Sulfur & Potash
- El Paso Electric Company
- El Paso Natural Gas Company
- Eppsco, Inc.
- Excelsior Laundry Company
- Farmers Compress Company
- Farmington Insulation & Metal Supply Inc.
- First Church of Christ, Scientist
- Florida Insulation & Fireproof
- Four Corners Power Plant
- Four Corners Powerhouse
- Four Corners Steam Electric Generating Plant
- Gallup Refinery
- George S. Thomson Company, Inc.
- Giant Refining New Mexico
- H B Zachry Company
- Haines Sewing Plant
- Holloman Air Force Base
- Hudson Engineering Corporation
- International Min. & Chemical Corporation
- International Minerals and Chemical Corp
- International Minerals and Chemicals Corporation
- J. Korber & Company, Inc.
- Kennecott Copper Company
- Kennicott Copper Mines
- Kent Nowlin Construction Company
- Kerr Mcgee Potasa Mine
- Kinney Brick Company
- Kirtland Air Force Base
- Lea County Electric Cooperative Inc
- Los Alamos Atomic Testing Site
- Los Alamos Laboratories
- Los Alamos Power Plant
- Lovelace Medical Center
- Lovington Power Plant
- M.R. Prestridge Lumber Company
- Maddok Power Plant
- Malco Refineries, Inc.
- Merrill H. Fisher
- Missile Site
- Monterrey School
- Municipal Light Plant Farmington
- Nalleys, Inc.
- National Mine
- National Potash Company
- Navajo Refining
- Neff Buckner
- Nevada Consolidated Copper Corporation
- New Mexico Electric Service Company
- New Mexico Light Heat and Power Company
- New Mexico Pump & Equipment
- New Mexico State Penitentiary
- New Mexico State Teachers College
- New Mexico State University
- Northern Natural Gas Company
- Old St. Joseph Hospital
- Owens-Corning Fiberglas
- Pecos Valley Compress Company
- Phelps Dodge Mining
- Plateau Refinery
- Production Equipment Corp
- Public Service Company of New Mexico
- Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM)
- Raymond G. Murphy Department of Veterans Affairs
- Red Seal Potato Chip Co.
- Reeves Generating Station
- Roswell Brackish Water Treatment Facility
- Roswell Electric Light Company
- Roswell Industrial Air Center
- Roswell Laundry Company
- San Juan Power Plant
- Sandia Base
- Sandia National Laboratories
- Santa Fe General Hospital
- Shell Oil Company
- Silver City Reduction Company
- Socorro Mines
- Southern Public Service Company
- Southernwestern Public Service Company
- Southwest Lumber Company
- Southwest Potash Corp
- Southwestern Public Service Company
- St. Marys Hospital
- Stears-Roger Manufacturing Company
- Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc.
- Texas Louisiana Power Company
- The Imperial Laundry Company
- Town of Clovis
- Town of Silver City
- Tri-State Insulation, Inc.
- Turbine Generator
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Albuquerque District
- United Nuclear Corporation
- United States Potash Company
- United States Potash Company
- University of New Mexico
- VA New Mexico Healthcare System
- Walker Air Force Base
- Warren Petroleum Corporation
- Warren Petroleum Corporation
- Western Precipitation
- White Sands Missile Range
- Wingate Fractionation Plan
- Wonder Building Display
- Zia Corporation