Living and working in Pennsylvania for any amount of time could mean that you suffered exposure from asbestos at some point. This is, at least in part, because of the numerous natural deposits of asbestos here in the state. In fact, the U.S. Geological Survey has accounted for 41 mines and deposits in Pennsylvania.
What does that mean for the state? It means that Pennsylvania comes in at number two when it comes to deaths from mesothelioma (a cancer caused by asbestos exposure) in the country. Around 2,779 people died from this rare disease between 1999 and 2015 here in the state. That may not seem like a lot of people, but when you consider how rare this cancer is, that number’s significance is alarming.
Occupations that put you at risk
Pennsylvania is home to many industries, and many of them are associated with asbestos. If you worked, in any of the following industries decades ago, your risk of exposure was high:
- The steel industry
- The shipbuilding industry
- The locomotive building industry
Between 1948 and 1993, W.R. Grace Corporation processed approximately 425,000 tons of asbestos-contaminated vermiculite here into gardening supplies and insulation.
Companies that put you at risk
Some companies doing business in Pennsylvania used asbestos on a large scale, which put its workers at risk for exposure. The most notable companies and locations included the following:
- The W.R. Grace Corporation site in Ambler
- The Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Company in Chester
- The Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
Ambler was given the infamous designation of being the “asbestos-manufacturing capital of the world,” which is not exactly what a borough wants to be known for, especially since it lies only miles outside of Philadelphia’s city center.
Cities that put you at risk
Due to the abundance of asbestos from natural sources and employers, several cities here in Pennsylvania showed increased risk of exposure. Outside of large cities such as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, at least 27 other cities make the list. The unfortunate truth is that you didn’t even have to be working around asbestos in many places in the state in order to come into contact with asbestos.
The results of exposure still linger
Even this brief outline of the amount of exposure Pennsylvania residents suffer gives you an idea of just why the state ranks number two in mesothelioma deaths. Since the damage from asbestos to humans may not manifest for decades after exposure, the number of people contracting this deadly cancer could still rise.
The question then becomes whether those individuals can receive compensation long after exposure occurred. The simple answer is often “yes,” but pursuing it can be problematic since the initial exposure could have occurred up to 50 years ago. For this reason, if you need compensation to help with your medical bills, lost wages and other damages, it would be beneficial to discuss your situation with an attorney that has the appropriate experience dealing with these claims.