Miners and Asbestos Exposure
Extracting asbestos ore and processing it into raw materials exposed miners to airborne asbestos, putting them at extremely high risk for diseases like mesothelioma.
All asbestos types originate in the ground. They have been mined for centuries. The early Greek and Romans extracted asbestos, but from the late 1800s to the 1990s millions of tons of asbestos were mined in the United States.
At one point, there were over 100 active asbestos mines in America with 60 sites on the east coast alone. Other asbestos mines existed throughout the country, particularly in Washington, Oregon, and California.
Today, the U.S. bans asbestos mining. The last asbestos mine was shut down in 2002, but during the 1970s, asbestos mining was at its height.
Hundreds of thousands of people worked directly and indirectly in asbestos mining and manufacturing asbestos-related products, and many miners are only just seeing the health impacts now.