Asbestos Exposure and Death Rates by State

The grim reality of asbestos exposure would not be complete without a lesson on Libby, Montana.

Known as one of the most asbestos-contaminated towns in America, Libby has been the focus of two documentaries and four books. Every American state once received asbestos shipments from companies set up in the small town.  Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral, was widely available in Libby and quickly became a top industry before asbestos-related diseases came to light.

It’s suggested that more than 274 deaths in and around Libby can be attributed to asbestos exposure.

Since 2000, the EPA has overseen removal of asbestos-contaminated resources from Libby and more than $370 million has been spent on the town of 2,600. Prolonged asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the lungs. Despite the historic prevalence of asbestos and inherent public health risks, Montana is not the top state in terms of deaths caused by mesothelioma.

According to the CDC, the state death rate from mesothelioma was greater than the national rate of 13.8 per million people per year in 26 states, Montana included. In six states (Maine, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, Wyoming, and West Virginia), the rate exceeded 20 per million per year.

Over the same seven-year period, only Georgia and Arkansas had nine or fewer annual mesothelioma deaths per million people.

Studies like this do have limitations. It’s important to note that death certificates do not include information on asbestos exposure or specific work histories – this can limit proper identification of industries or occupations at fault. Also, deaths may occur in states where asbestos exposure did not occur. Lastly, some cases may be misdiagnosed and, therefore, unable to be properly registered.

Some interesting facts to coincide with CDC’s findings: asbestos use in the United States peaked in 1973 with more than 803,000 metric tons used in various projects. That number has since dropped to less than 2,000 metric tons every year.

Our staff of experienced mesothelioma lawyers and paralegals is here to help you and answer any questions you might have about filing a mesothelioma lawsuit. Call Sokolove Law today to learn more about potentially pursuing a mesothelioma or asbestos claim.