Do You Live in One of the Top 5 States for Asbestos-Related Deaths?

Life in New York City

The states with the most asbestos-related deaths are also in the top six most populous states. While it makes sense that more instances of mesothelioma occur in states with larger populations, these states also present more asbestos exposure risks than other states. Here are the top 5 states with the most asbestos-related deaths and what makes residents so at risk for asbestos-connected diseases:

1st – California

Estimated amount of asbestos-related deaths: 4273-5792

California Asbestos ExposureThe EPA keeps a list of the most environmentally contaminated sites in the United States. These sites are added to the National Priorities List and put on an extensive cleanup protocol called the Superfund program. California has 18 Armed Forces bases on that list. Veterans make up a considerable percentage of mesothelioma patients because of the large use of asbestos in most Armed Forces ships, buildings and vehicles. Also, 45 of 58 counties in California have natural asbestos deposits. Hot spots for asbestos-related deaths are San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego.

2nd – Florida

Estimated amount of asbestos-related deaths: 3025-4481

Florida Asbestos ExposureBecause so many U.S. citizens retire in Florida, the Sunshine State falls into the No. 2 spot. The peninsula state’s shipyards and industrial business also contributed to asbestos-related deaths in Florida. Asbestos was a large proponent in ships throughout the 20th century. From merchant vessels to Navy ships, asbestos was used to insulate boiler rooms, engine rooms, fire rooms, mess halls and even sleeping quarters. In Florida, seven shipyards have known asbestos exposure history. Additionally, more than 109,000 tons of asbestos were shipped from a Libby, Montana asbestos-contaminated mine to Jacksonville, Boca Raton, Pompano Beach, St. Petersburg and Tampa.

3rd – New York

Estimated amount of asbestos-related deaths: 2626-4088

New York Asbestos ExposureThere is a long history with asbestos in New York because of the state’s vast industrial history. One of the first asbestos mining and manufacturing companies began in New York in 1858; known as the Johns-Manville Corporation and later as W.R. Grace, the company manufactured insulation and roofing products until it was forced into bankruptcy in 1982. Industrial workers are considered at a high risk for asbestos-related disease. New York’s shipyards, metalwork facilities, manufacturing plants and power plants have been prime sources for asbestos exposure. Buffalo, New York City and Rochester are large hot spots for asbestos-related deaths.

4th – Pennsylvania

Estimated amount of asbestos-related deaths: 3046-3913

Pennsylvania Asbestos ExposurePennsylvania has a long history of mining and also received large shipments of raw asbestos from Libby, Montana. There are a reported 11 shipyard and metalwork jobsites with known asbestos exposure in Pennsylvania. A total of 60 different counties have had an asbestos-related death within Pennsylvania. The counties of Philadelphia, Delaware, Allegheny and Montgomery lead in asbestos-related deaths.

5th – Texas

Estimated amount of asbestos-related deaths: 2651-3627

Texas Asbestos Exposure

There are nine jobsites with known exposure, including oil refineries, steel mills, foundries, chemical plants, automobile factories and shipping companies. The shipping companies spread thousands of shipments across Texas with asbestos-contaminated materials at an estimated amount of 675,000 tons. Of all the cities that received asbestos from the Libby, Montana mine, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso and Beaumont lead the state in asbestos-related deaths.

Although asbestos use has been reduced to small amounts, asbestos still isn’t fully banned in the United States. Mesothelioma is almost exclusively caused by asbestos exposure and may take 20 to 50 years to develop. Do you live near a facility that contained asbestos? To find out more about the highest asbestos exposure risks by state visit our state directory page.


Ben Leer is an outreach coordinator with The Mesothelioma Center. He works toward increasing education and awareness of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Part of Ben’s job is to reach out and engage with patients, caregivers and family members on our online communities.

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