Asbestos in Texas

Asbestos use was prevalent in Texas during much of the 20th century to insulate equipment and clothing used by workers in major industries, such as oil refineries and shipyards. Texans' exposure to this toxic, fire-resistant mineral resulted in thousands of asbestos-related deaths from mesothelioma and asbestosis. In fact, at least 2,454 people died from asbestos-related diseases in Texas between 1999 and 2013, placing the state fourth nationwide in deaths attributed to the toxin.  

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Texas
4th

ranking in U.S. for mesothelioma & asbestosis deaths

Written By

This page features: 11 cited research articles

While the majority of those who died or have been diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases in Texas worked in occupations where they inhaled the asbestos fibers regularly, others were exposed from simply living near hazardous jobsites, such as the W.R. Grace & Company/Texas Vermiculite site in Dallas, which imported shipments of asbestos-tainted vermiculite from Libby, Montana until 1992.

Occupations at Risk

Most Texans who suffer from asbestos related diseases like mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos on the job, where they worked in oil refineries, steel mills and foundries, chemical plants, automobile factories and petro-chemical industries.

Jobsites with Known Exposure:

Dallas, TX skyline

Texas Mesothelioma &
Asbestosis Deaths, 1999-2013

  • 1,913 Mesothelioma Deaths
  • 541 Asbestosis Deaths
  • 2,454 Total Deaths

Treatment Centers near Texas

Lung Institute at Baylor College of Medicine

Lung Institute at Baylor College of Medicine

6620 Main Street Suite 1325 Houston, TX 77030

Baylor University Medical Center

Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas

3500 Gaston Ave. Dallas, TX 75246-2017

University of Texas MD Anderson

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX 77030

UT Southwestern Medical Center

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

5323 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, TX 75390

Mercy Hospital

Mercy Hospital

195 Fore River Parkway Portland, ME 04102

Maine Medical Center Cancer Institute

Maine Medical Center Cancer Institute

100 Campus Drive Scarborough ME 04074

Doctors in Texas

David Sugarbaker

David Sugarbaker

Thoracic Surgery
Eugene Choi

Eugene Choi

Peritoneal Surface Malignancies
Bryan Burt

Bryan Burt

Thoracic Surgery
Frank V. Fossella

Frank V. Fossella

Medical Oncology
Ritsuko U. Komaki

Ritsuko U. Komaki

Radiation Oncology
Scott Celinski

Scott Celinski

Abdominal Cancers
George Simon

George Simon

Pleural Mesothelioma
Pavan Mukesh Jhaveri

Pavan Mukesh Jhaveri

Radiation Oncology
Jun Zhang

Jun Zhang

Hematology & Oncology
Anita Lyn Sabichi

Anita Lyn Sabichi

Medical Oncology
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Oil Refineries & Corporations

Oil and chemical refineries provide jobs to thousands of people in Texas, but these occupations are dangerous as they require constant exposure to high-intensity heat. Because of its heat resistant qualities, asbestos was used as an insulating material as well as a fire retardant to protect workers and keep them safe while working in these conditions. As a result of this practice, workers in these fields have died from asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Learn more about asbestos exposure in oil refinery workers

Shipyards & Ship Building

Shipyard workers and crews are occupations that have been known to have high risks for asbestos exposure because the material was widely used until the 1980s. Not only was asbestos used as a fire retardant in these ships and shipyards, it was often used to coat pipes and boilers located in engine rooms because of its insulation properties.

How was asbestos used in shipyards?

Asbestos Litigation in Texas

Texas has long been a popular venue for asbestos claims, although the number of cases filed in the state has dropped in recent years.

From 1988 to 2000, Texas ranked among the top five states with the most asbestos filings in state and federal courts. In the mid-1990s, three counties in Texas (Harris, Galveston and Jefferson) accounted for 42 percent of all new filings.

In 2005, Texas adopted SB 15, a state law that created specific medical criteria for asbestos claims. By requiring plaintiffs to demonstrate an actual asbestos-related disability prior to filing a claim, SB 15 cleared unimpaired asbestos victims from Texas courts and moved them to an inactive docket. As a result, claimants with asbestos-related cancer and serious impairments began seeing their cases resolved sooner. If claimants in the inactive docket provide proof of an asbestos-related impairment or cancer diagnosis, they can be transferred back to the active docket.

Despite tighter restrictions on filing claims, many people in Texas have won compensation from the companies responsible for their asbestos exposure:

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Matt Mauney is an award-winning journalist with nearly a decade of professional writing experience. He joined 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 advancements. Prior to joining Asbestos.com, Matt was a reporter at the Orlando Sentinel. Matt also edits some of the pages on the website. He also holds a certificate in health writing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read More

Last Modified April 27, 2018
Sources
  1. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. (2009). Former W.R. Grace & Company/Texas Vermiculite Site, Dallas County, Texas [Fact sheet]. Retrieved from: Retrieved from: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/asbestos/sites/national_map/fact_sheets/dallastx.html
  2. Texas Department of State Health Services (2011, June 6). Asbestos Program: Home Page. Retrieved from: Retrieved from: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/asbestos/default.shtm
  3. United States Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). Region 6. Retrieved from: Retrieved from: https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-6-south-central
  4. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. (2011). Why Choose MD Anderson? Retrieved from: Retrieved from: http://www.mdanderson.org/patient-and-cancer-information/guide-to-md-anderson/international-center/why-choose-md-anderson/index.html
  5. Carroll, S. et al. (2002). Asbestos Litigation Costs and Compensation. Retrieved from Retrieved from: http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/documented_briefings/2005/DB397.pdf
  6. HarrisMartin Publishing. (2001, September 13). $130 Million Awarded to Five Asbestos Plaintiffs in Texas. Retrieved from Retrieved from: http://harrismartin.com/article/591/130-million-awarded-to-five-asbestos-plaintiffs-in-texas/
  7. Bradley, K. (2014). Tire Worker's Family Wins $18.6 Million Verdict in Texas Asbestos Trial. Retrieved from Retrieved from: http://blog.thomsonreuters.com/index.php/tire-workers-family-wins-18-6-million-verdict-in-texas-asbestos-trial/
  8. The Business Journals. (2012, July 13). Baron & Budd, P.C. Wins $11 Million Texas Asbestos Cancer Verdict. Retrieved from Retrieved from: http://www.bizjournals.com/prnewswire/press_releases/2010/03/30/DA78402
  9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. (2015, January). Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2013 on CDC WONDER Online Database. Retrieved from Retrieved from: http://wonder.cdc.gov/ucd-icd10.html

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