Mesothelioma Death Rates in the U.S.
General statistics regarding deaths from asbestos exposure are ever-changing.
However, it’s safe to estimate well over 10,000 people across the United States pass away annually due to illnesses related to asbestos exposure.
A recent report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) claims that between 189,000 and 221,000 American deaths were linked to asbestos exposure from 1999 to 2013.
The EWG cautioned their estimates about deaths from asbestos are conservative. In reality, the number of deaths from asbestos exposure could reach 20,000 each year.
There’s a good reason why asbestos-related death statistics are erratic: inconsistent diagnosis and death classifications by physicians and coroners.
Many people who suffered diseases directly related to asbestos finally succumbed to ailments like cardiac arrest, stroke, or a pulmonary embolism.
While those may be the final cause of death, the underlying contributor may have been the asbestos-related disease.
Further, mesothelioma — a rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure — is often misdiagnosed as less serious health problems.
Common misdiagnoses include:
The EWG relied on statistics from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) database.
Their most recent figures listed multiple causes of death, which is somewhat confusing.
Some of the death certificates recorded known asbestos-caused disorders as primary death causes. Others made faint reference to asbestos-related diseases as secondary or third level factors.
They also report many deaths classified without proper medical antemortem supervision and diagnosis. As well, many cases were concluded without accurate postmortem histology exams.
Yet regardless of how many people die from asbestos, the facts remain: the mineral is a deadly risk to public health, and until it is totally banned in the United States, it will continue to be.