Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure in New Mexico
If you have worked and lived in New Mexico 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 New Mexico, we have compiled the following information about asbestos and mesothelioma in the state. Below you will find recent statistics about asbestos exposure and mesothelioma in New Mexico. We have also included descriptions of the industries and lists of cities, towns and specific job sites in New Mexico where asbestos exposure has occurred. Local New Mexico mesothelioma doctors and treatment centers are listed and recent news articles about asbestos and mesothelioma in New Mexico are also provided.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Asbestos-Related News in New Mexico
Last Thursday, the Estancia Valley Solid Waste Authority (EVSWA) decided to help the Town of Vaughn with its defunct landfill, asbestos pile, and accompanying fines from May.
Author: Linda Molinari
Editor in Chief, Mesothelioma Cancer AllianceRead about Linda
Reviewer: Jennifer R. Lucarelli
Lawyer for Mesothelioma Victims and Their FamiliesRead about Jennifer
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. “Who Is At Risk of Exposure to Asbestos?” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/asbestos/risk2.html (accessed 23 August 2010).
Cabrera-Santiago, Manuel et al. “Prevalence of Asbestos-Related Disease Among Electrical Power Generation Workers in Puerto Rico.” Presentation at American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, 2007.
Geological Research, Analyses and Services Programs. “Naturally Occurring Asbestos Locations in the Contiguous U.S. and Alaska.” Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 25 May 2007.
http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/noa/usamap.pdf (accessed 23 August 2010).
Public Service Company of New Mexico. "Form 8-K." SEC filing, 22 April 2003.
http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/81023/000110842603000011/f8k_04222003.txt (accessed 23 August 2010).