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Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure in Virginia


Prolonged exposure to asbestos can lead to serious health problems including pleural mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer. If you have lived and worked in Virginia for significant amount of time, there is a chance that you were exposed to asbestos at home or in the workplace. For your convenience, we have compiled information about asbestos and mesothelioma in the state of Virginia.

Below you will find recent statistics about mesothelioma and asbestos exposure in Virginia. We have also included descriptions of industries and lists of cities, towns and specific job sites in Virginia where asbestos exposure has occurred. Local Virginia mesothelioma doctors and treatment centers are also listed. Finally, we include recent news articles about asbestos and mesothelioma in Virginia.

Virginia Mesothelioma and Asbestos Statistics

From 1999-2015, approximately 1,248 Virginia residents died from mesothelioma

Asbestos Use in Virginia Work Environments

Asbestos has been used in various industries throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.


Asbestos occurs in natural deposits throughout Virginia, and in the past some of these deposits have been mined. In addition, asbestos may be present in other mines, such as coal or talc mines. Many of the miners and other workers at these mines and the processing centers where ore and metals were taken were exposed to both natural asbestos and asbestos-containing products used in the machinery that processed the raw materials.

Chemical Plants:

Many have used asbestos in their manufacturing processes, due to the substance’s high resistance to chemical corrosion and heat. Employees who worked at these manufacturing plants would have been exposed to asbestos, significantly increasing their risk of developing mesothelioma. Some of the companies known to have had asbestos exposure problems in Virginia include Dow Chemical, DuPont, Olin Mathieson Chemical Corporation, and Allied Chemical Corporation.

Power Plants:

Asbestos has proven to be an excellent insulator against electrical current, and as such has been used at a number of Virginia power generation facilities. One study showed that 13% of power plant employees had asbestos-related abnormalities on X-rays, and such workers are at an extremely high risk of developing mesothelioma. A few of the power plants with the worst records when it comes to asbestos include Potomac Electric Power Company in Alexandria, Virginia Electrical and Power Company in Richmond, and Dan River Power and Manufacturing Company.


Virginia is home to a number of naval and commercial shipyards, with locations at Lyon, Newport News, Norfolk, and Portsmouth, among others. Asbestos was used in the construction of military and commercial vessels until the early 1980s, and veteran shipbuilders continue to be one of the largest groups affected by mesothelioma today.


Veterans have a higher chance of developing mesothelioma, especially those who serve in the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, or Marines. Both the Sewells Point Naval Complex in Norfolk and the Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek in Virginia Beach have documented mesothelioma cases. Other military bases in the state could also have exposed veterans to asbestos.

Virginia Asbestos Shipyards

Virginia is home to a number of shipyards and Superfund sites where asbestos has been a major concern for workers, including those who have had to return to the sites to clean them up.

Lyon Shipyard

Built by George Lyon in the late 1920s, the Lyon Shipyard initially provided commercial shipbuilding and ship repair services to commercial boats. However, with the onset of World War II, the shipyard worked on some smaller ships for the U.S. Navy as part of the war effort, returning to its more familiar clientele of commercial ships after the war. During all of these periods, however, shipbuilders were exposed to asbestos, which was used heavily in both military and merchant ships during the early and middle decades of the 20th century.

Newport News Shipbuilding

The largest shipyard in the U.S. not owned by the Navy, the shipyard at Newport News, first opened its docks in 1886. Like many other older shipyards, it was heavily involved in the war efforts for both World Wars, and over the years it set a number of records, including the largest passenger vessel in America in 1933. Ownership has changed hands a number of times over the years, but what stayed the same during much of the time of its operation is the heavy amount of asbestos used in the ships built and repaired at the shipyard.

Norfolk Naval Shipyard

Situated on the Elizabeth River, the shipyard is older than the United States, having originated as a British-owned shipyard during colonial times. Home of the first drydock in the western hemisphere, the Norfolk Naval Shipyard has undergone many transformations and expansions over the centuries. During the 20th century, it built a great number of ships for both World War I and World War II, reaching a peak of at least 43,000 shipbuilders and other workers at the site. Massive amounts of asbestos were used in many of the ships built at the site up until about the 1970s, and veterans and civilian workers alike were exposed to the dangerous material during that time.

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Virginia Cities Where Asbestos Exposure Occurred

Read more about large jobsites where asbestos exposure occurred in the major cities of Virginia. If you or a loved one worked at any of these sites in Virginia, 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 Virginia Work Sites

Workplace asbestos exposure is also a concern if one looks beyond the major cities and towns in Virginia. 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 Virginia

USGS Develops Asbestos Detection Tool for Vermiculite Insulation

Reston, Virginia - May 04, 2018

Scientists at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) have developed a new tool to help asbestos professionals detect asbestos fibers in vermiculite insulation on site, ultimately saving a lot of time from analyzing samples.

West Virginia University Receiving $730,000 for Cancer Moonshot Program

Morgantown, West Virginia - October 26, 2016

West Virginia University (WVU) will receive $730,000 per Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative. Biden released the first report on the initiative establishing the Cancer Moonshot Taskforce on Monday, October 17.

Find Mesothelioma Doctors, Lawyers and Asbestos Exposure Sites Near You

Author: Linda Molinari

Editor in Chief, Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

Linda Molinari

Reviewer: Jennifer R. Lucarelli

Lawyer for Mesothelioma Victims and Their Families

Jennifer R. Lucarelli

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. “Who Is At Risk of Exposure to Asbestos?” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (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.

Evans, David and Greg Johnstone. “Asbestos Use Companies and Locations in Virginia.” All About Malignant Mesothelioma (September 2006).

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. (accessed 23 August 2010).

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