Asbestos in Florida

Asbestos does not occur naturally in Florida, but large amounts of it were shipped to the state and even more contaminated products were used commercially in construction and other industries. According to records, at least 109,949 tons of asbestos were shipped from Libby, Montana, for processing in five Florida cities: Boca Raton, Jacksonville, Pompano Beach, St. Petersburg and Tampa.

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About Florida

Ranking in U.S. for mesothelioma & asbestosis deaths
2nd
Mesothelioma Deaths
1,968
Asbestosis Deaths
442
Total Deaths
2,410

Hundreds of Florida buildings harbor asbestos-containing materials (ACM), but as long as they are not damaged or disturbed, they are considered nearly harmless. However, many business and property owners in the state have taken steps to remove the asbestos from their buildings out of fear of harm to the public. The number of asbestos lawsuits filed (and won) in Florida is also a motivator to prevent harmful exposure. Others have left the materials in place, and instead, developed awareness and management programs, which help to manage the asbestos at these facilities.

Occupations and Areas at Risk

Aside from the five asbestos processing plants that previously operated throughout the state, other industries such as construction and mining used asbestos extensively in the workplace. Those with jobs at shipyards, power plants, chemical plants, metal works factories and auto repair shops were likely to encounter asbestos in the workplace as well. Occupations in schools, electrical work, plumbing and home repair also present a risk of exposure.

Some of the known locations where exposure was a risk include Big Bear Powerhouse, Crist Power Plant, DuPont Corp. (Forest Wheeler), Eustis Housing Project, Jacksonville Grammar School, Mulberry Phosphate Mine, St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant, U.S. Sugar and Vero Beach Municipal Power Plant. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), nestled in Florida’s central East Coast, has also used asbestos, particularly for fireproofing purposes on the space shuttle. Technical reports released by NASA indicate that asbestos blocks have been used as soldering bases, and asbestos composites have been used in pressurized vessels.

Many public buildings also contain asbestos, and Florida laws and regulations are in place to help prevent exposure and make the right entities responsible for containing or abating the materials. For example, Florida State University (FSU) has identified several buildings that house asbestos-containing material. FSU manages the materials under the guidance of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The university's Asbestos Awareness and Management Program is responsible for the following activities:

  • An inventory of known asbestos-containing materials
  • Coordination of asbestos abatement activities
  • Notification of building occupants
  • Periodic surveillance of ACM
  • Training of maintenance and custodial staff and any other employee required to work with or near ACM

This is just one example of the effort put forth by facilities in the state. The state itself has made great efforts to monitor and manage known asbestos sites by implementing a special program.

Treatment Centers in Florida

The H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center

12902 Magnolia Drive, Tampa, FL 33612

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Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

1475 N.W. 12th Avenue (D-1), Miami, FL 33136

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UF Health Cancer Center at Orlando Health

UF Health Cancer Center at Orlando Health

1400 S. Orange Avenue Orlando, FL 32806

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AdventHealth Celebration

AdventHealth Celebration

400 Celebration Pl, Kissimmee, FL 34747, USA

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Jupiter Medical Center

Jupiter Medical Center

1210 S. Old Dixie Hwy Jupiter, FL 33458

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Cleveland Clinic Florida

Cleveland Clinic Florida

2950 Cleveland Clinic Blvd., Weston, FL 33331

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AdventHealth Cancer Institute Orlando

AdventHealth Orlando

2501 North Orange Ave., Orlando, FL 32804

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Doctors in Florida

Jacques Fontaine
Evan W. Alley
David Grossman
Michael R. Shafique
Alberto A. Chiappori
Toufik Djemil

Toufik Djemil

Radiation Oncologist

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Wesam Ahmed

Wesam Ahmed

Medical Oncologist

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Bruno Bastos

Bruno Bastos

Medical Oncologist

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K. Adam Lee

K. Adam Lee

Cardiothoracic Surgeon

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Mecker Moller

Mecker Moller

Surgical Oncologist

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Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Asbestos Removal Program

The intent of the Florida DEP Asbestos Removal Program is to prevent the release of fibers to the outside air during renovation and demolition activities. The program began in 1982 when the EPA delegated enforcement authority to the state. It requires notification to the Florida DEP about the removal of asbestos from certain types of facilities throughout Florida that have the potential to contain contaminated materials. These include institutional, commercial, public, and industrial structures and residential buildings with four or more units; as well as ships or any active or inactive waste disposal sites.

Jobsites / Shipyards with Known Asbestos Exposure

  • Atlantic Dry Dock
  • The Hendry Corporation
  • Offshore Shipbuilding Co.
  • Tampa Bay Shipbuilding
  • Gulf Marine Repair Corporation
  • Mayport Navy Station
  • Pensacola Naval Air Station
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Penalties for Violating Removal Laws

It doesn’t take much to earn the label “asbestos-containing.” In the state of Florida and across the country, all forms of asbestos (even in small amounts) are considered dangerous. Asbestos-containing materials refer to any materials that contain more than 1 percent asbestos. Florida has set laws in place to regulate the removal of such materials, with some hefty penalties for violating these laws.

The Department of Environmental Protection sets non-compliance fees high. Currently, financial penalties are the only punishments for skirting the law. If an individual or individuals are harmed during the removal of asbestos from any site in the state of Florida, filing a lawsuit is the only recourse. Financial penalties are assessed for failure to comply with notification laws, waste shipment violations, and work-practice and emission violations. Penalties depend on the specific type of violation and whether it’s the first, second, or third violation, and range from $500 up to $10,000.

Florida residents thankfully don’t have to be concerned about environmental sources of asbestos since the mineral does not occur naturally in the Sunshine State. However, exposure through contaminated products is a possibility, and becoming informed about how to prevent exposure is the best approach to avoid contact with the toxic mineral.

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Writer and Editor

Matt Mauney is an award-winning journalist with more than a decade of professional writing and editing experience. He joined The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com in 2016, and he spends much of his time reading, analyzing and reporting on mesothelioma research articles to ensure people in the mesothelioma community know the latest medical advances. Prior to joining Asbestos.com, Matt was a Community Manager at the Orlando Sentinel. Matt also edits pages, articles and other content on the website. He holds a certificate in health writing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Walter Pacheco, Managing Editor at Asbestos.com
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8 Cited Article Sources

  1. Environmental Working Group. (2011). Government Statistics on Deaths Due to Asbestos-Related Diseases. Retrieved from: http://www.ewg.org/research/maps/deaths-due-asbestos-related-diseases
  2. Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. (2011). Sylvester First in South Florida to Offer Novel Treatment for Abdominal Cancer. Retrieved from: http://sylvester.org/news-events/press-releases/sylvester-first-in-south-florida-to-offer-novel-treatment-for-abdominal-can
  3. Florida Department of Environmental Protection. (2011). Emission Sources: Asbestos. Retrieved from: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/air/emission/asbestos.htm
  4. NASA. (2011). Asbestos Abatement. Retrieved from: http://specsintact.ksc.nasa.gov/Masters/KSCMaster/pdf/02%2082%2013.00%2098.pdf
  5. Florida State University. (2011). Asbestos Awareness and Management Program. Retrieved from: http://www.safety.fsu.edu/asbestosmanagement.html
  6. Florida Department of Environmental Protection. (2011). About Air: Asbestos. Retrieved from: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/air/about_air/pollutants/asbestos.htm
  7. Florida Business Department and Professional Services. (n.d.). Asbestos Licensing Unit. Retrieved from: https://www.myfloridalicense.com/intentions2.asp?chBoard=true&boardid=59&SID=
  8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. (2011). Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2008 [Data file]. CDC WONDER Online Database. Retrieved from: http://wonder.cdc.gov/ucd-icd10.html
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Last Modified April 10, 2019

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