Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure in Tennessee
If you have worked and lived in Tennessee 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 Tennessee, 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 Tennessee. We have also included descriptions of the industries and lists of cities, towns and specific job sites in Tennessee where asbestos exposure has occurred. Local Tennessee mesothelioma doctors and treatment centers are listed. Recent news articles about asbestos and mesothelioma in Tennessee are also provided.
Asbestos and Mesothelioma Statistics in Tennessee
From 1999-2015, 737 Tennessee residents died from mesothelioma
- Tennessee’s mesothelioma death rate of 7.1 per million people is somewhat below the national average (Source: CDC)
- There are no known naturally occurring asbestos deposits in Tennessee (Source: USGS)
- Southeastern Tennessee counties tend to have a slightly higher rate of mesothelioma mortality than other counties in the state (Source: Journal of the American Medical Association)
Asbestos Use in Tennessee Work Environments
Two major industries in Tennessee that have been associated with occupational asbestos exposure are paper and pulp and the production of energy.
Paper and Pulp:
One of the largest players in the paper and pulp industry was the Evergreen Packaging Company of Memphis, which was formerly part of the International Paper Company. However, a number of other companies operating in Tennessee exposed lumberjacks, pulpers, and mill workers to asbestos throughout the production process. Some of these corporations include Tennessee River Pulp & Paper in Counce, Bowater Paper Mill in Chattanooga, Mead Paper Mill in Kingsport, and Calhoun Paper Mill in Calhoun.
A mammoth undertaking that started in the 1930s, the Tennessee Valley Authority was at one time the largest energy provider in the country, operating hydroelectric, coal and gas, nuclear power plants, as well as combustion and wind turbines. Both the TVA and local power companies used massive amounts of asbestos in their construction to insulate from electricity and heat created during the power generation process. Other sites that exposed workers to asbestos include Bristol Gas and Electric Company, Chattanooga Electric Company, Tennessee Eastern Electric Company, and Knoxville Electric Light and Power Company.
Although it may not be as well-known as other states for motor vehicle production, Tennessee has been home to several plants that make car and truck parts. A few examples include the Ford Motor Company glass plant in Nashville, the Firestone plant in Memphis, and Hoover Ball Bearing Company (which made bearings for automobile wheels, among other things). Each of these jobsites are known to have contained asbestos, putting automakers at risk of developing mesothelioma decades later.
One of Tennessee’s historical claims to fame is the small town of Oak Ridge, home of the Manhattan Project, the U.S. government’s classified project to develop nuclear weapons in the 1930s and 1940s. At the height of the project, tens of thousands of military and civilian personnel occupied the boomtown, and while the primary concern revolved around the radioactive materials being used, many facilities in the town used asbestos in a wide variety of capacities.
Tennessee Asbestos Superfund Sites
Tennessee is an inland state and has no shipyards, but at least one Superfund site within the state’s boundaries has had problems with asbestos contamination.
Wrigley Charcoal Plant
Situated in Wrigley, TN, the charcoal production facility was added to the Superfund list in 1989 to clean up contaminants in the groundwater and soil. Cleanup activities continued for a number of years, until December 2013, when a devastating fire broke out at the facility and demolished several buildings. The damage revealed a significant amount of asbestos at the site, and the EPA was forced to begin asbestos abatement as a result. Given the amount of asbestos, employees who originally worked at the site likely were exposed to the cancer-causing material decades earlier.
Tennessee Cities with Known Asbestos Exposure
Read more about large jobsites where asbestos exposure occurred in the major cities of Tennessee. If you or a loved one worked at any of these sites in Tennessee, 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 Risks at Other Tennessee Work Sites
Workplace asbestos exposure is also a concern if one looks beyond the major cities and towns in Tennessee. Select a town below to see the list of its job sites known to have exposed workers to asbestos. Asbestos exposure at any one of the job sites revealed could have placed a worker at risk to develop mesothelioma cancer and other asbestos-related diseases.
Asbestos-Related News in Tennessee
Former Tennessee State Senator Ray Albright was exposed to airborne asbestos four decades ago and now struggles with mesothelioma cancer as a result. Albright was a Chattanooga delegation member in the Tennessee General Assembly for 26 years.
The decades old Standard Coosa Thatcher Mills building burned to the ground last Tuesday causing concern because it contained asbestos. Fire officials were the ones to share the asbestos news with the public.
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.
Carel, Rafael et al. “Exposure to Asbestos and Lung and Pleural Cancer Mortality Among Pulp and Paper Workers.” Journal of Occupational Medicine, 44, 6 (June 2002): 579-84.