Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure in Oklahoma
If you have worked and lived in Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma, we have compiled the following information about asbestos and mesothelioma in Oklahoma.
Below you will find recent statistics about asbestos exposure and mesothelioma in Oklahoma. We have also included descriptions of the industries and lists of cities, towns and specific job sites in Oklahoma where asbestos exposure has occurred. Local Oklahoma mesothelioma doctors and treatment centers are listed. Recent news articles about asbestos and mesothelioma in Oklahoma are also provided.
Mesothelioma and Asbestos Statistics in Oklahoma
From 1999-2015, approximately 393 Oklahoma residents died from mesothelioma
- The mesothelioma death rate of 6.3 people per million in Oklahoma is significantly below the national average (Source: CDC)
- Oklahoma has no known asbestos deposits or mines (Source: USGS)
- Counties along the southern border of Oklahoma have a slightly higher mesothelioma mortality rate than elsewhere in the state (Source: Journal of the American Medical Association)
Asbestos Use in Oklahoma Work Environments
Agriculture and natural gas production are Oklahoma’s industrial claims to fame, and both of these industries have historically had problems with asbestos exposure.
Oil and Natural Gas:
The first commercial oil well in Oklahoma was built in 1897, as companies began to rush into the Indian Territory to capitalize on the expansion of the U.S. frontier. My 1901, Tulsa was the “Oil Capital of the World,” and a few years later natural gas became the state’s second-favorite natural resource when a lightning strike ignited a natural gas well near Caney, creating a flame visible for 35 miles around. Over the next several decades, Oklahoma competed with California for the title of the number one oil producer in the U.S., and more than 70 of the state’s 77 counties still have oil-producing wells. Unfortunately, many of the workers at those wells have experienced asbestos exposure, given that the material was used to help prevent fires. Some of the major oil companies to operate in Oklahoma include Texaco, Sinclair Oil, Sun Oil, Conoco, Phillips Petroleum, and Champlin Oil & Refining.
Oklahoma relies heavily on agriculture to sustain its economy, almost as much as it relies on oil and gas. Farmland Industries, at one time the largest agricultural cooperative in the U.S., included farmlands in Oklahoma, and was also responsible for asbestos exposure for many of its members. Asbestos is also a problem when it comes to processing the harvested crops, since many mills and food factories used asbestos in their machinery, such as Acme Flour Mills in Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College in Stillwater, OK, also is known to have had asbestos exposure problems.
The power needs of Oklahoma industry and residents throughout the state are provided by a number of different power companies. Many of these energy corporations have used asbestos as an insulation material for the electricity and heat generated during the power-production process, exposing many workers to the cancer-causing material. Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company, Ponca City Municipal Electric System, and the Garson Light & Power Company are just three Oklahoma power plants known to have exposed employees to asbestos, eventually leading to mesothelioma.
All branches of the U.S. military have a long and complex history with asbestos, which was used heavily in military ships, aircraft, and land vehicles for various purposes. Three military installations in Oklahoma that exposed military personnel, family members, and civilian workers include Fort Sill Army Base in Lawton, Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, and the U.S. Naval Ammunition Depot in McAlester. The Veteran’s Hospital in Muskogee, OK, also has had problems with asbestos exposure over the years.
Asbestos Superfund Sites in Oklahoma
The EPA has placed more than a dozen locations in Oklahoma on its Superfund list, mostly in relation to oil and natural gas activities, though some of those have required asbestos cleanup as well.
Located in Cushing, OK, the 200-acre Hudson Refinery site was primarily added to the Superfund list because of its oil-contaminated soil. However, EPA documents from the most recent 5-year report show that “loose and friable asbestos containing material” also was a major contaminant of concern on the property. This is no surprise, given that the refinery operated from 1922 – 1982, during the height of asbestos use in facilities like the ones located on the refinery lands. The EPA and the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality cooperated in a 16-year cleanup effort starting in 1999, with completion in 2015.
Fourth Street Abandoned Refinery
Another oil refinery located in Oklahoma City, this site operated during the 1940s – 1960s, contaminating the soil and groundwater with oil and various chemicals used in the refining process. An assessment by the EPA in 1994 led to the further discovery of asbestos insulation, which required abatement and remedy construction. The abandoned refinery remained on the EPA’s Superfund list for 14 years while cleanup activities continued, and it was taken off the list in 2008 when the cleanup efforts were deemed successful.
Oklahoma Refining Company
A 160-acre oil refinery located in Cyril, OK, this Superfund site also contained plenty of oil contamination in the ground, as well as other contaminants. As part of the emergency response efforts in 2003, the EPA demolished a number of buildings and other structures on the site, which included a wide array of asbestos-containing materials, including pipes and oil storage vessels. The cleanup efforts were completed in 2006, although reporting on the site continued as late as 2017.
Oklahoma Cities with Asbestos Problems
Read more about large jobsites where asbestos exposure occurred in the major cities of Oklahoma. If you or a loved one worked at any of these sites in Oklahoma, 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.
Asbestos Exposure at Smaller Oklahoma Sites
Asbestos exposure is also a problem if you look beyond the major cities and towns in Oklahoma. 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 Oklahoma
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded the Oklahoma Department of Labor $202,970 to help protect school children and state workers from potential asbestos exposure as part of the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA).
Author: Linda Molinari
Editor in Chief, Mesothelioma Cancer AllianceRead about Linda
Reviewer: Jennifer R. Lucarelli
Lawyer for Mesothelioma Victims and Their FamiliesRead about Jennifer
Oklahoma Energy Resources Board. “A Strong Future.” OERB.com.
http://www.oerb.com/industry/history_3.asp (accessed 23 August 2010).
Sorahan, Tom. “Mortality of UK Oil Refinery and Petroleum Distribution Workers, 1951-2003.” Occupational Medicine 57, no. 3 (2007).