Throughout the United States during the twentieth century, the use of asbestos was widespread due to its resistance to heat and fire, as well as its relative low cost. Asbestos in Pennsylvania – asbestos use was quite extensive in Pennsylvania due to mining and job sites that produced ships and steel. Exposure to asbestos, particularly over a long period of time, can cause serious health issues, such as mesothelioma and asbestosis.
Asbestos in Pennsylvania
Asbestos could be found throughout Pennsylvania, including in four asbestos mines located in the southeastern part of the state. Asbestos is considered dangerous because its fibers often remain in the lungs for longer periods of time, which increases the risk of the development of mesothelioma.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has cited numerous facilities within Pennsylvania as potential areas for harm based on the existence of hazardous waste and contamination. Some of the industries that involved the highest levels of exposure included shipbuilding, construction, pipefitting, and demolition. Some of the major job sites in Pennsylvania included:
- Bethlehem Steel Shipyard;
- Penn Shipbuilding;
- Philadelphia Naval Shipyard;
- USX Corporation; and
- LTV Steel.
In addition to the asbestos that was mined from within the state, companies also received large amounts of vermiculite from Libby, Montana that was contaminated with asbestos. According to the Centers for Disease Control (data found by using CDC WONDER search tool), 2,476 Pennsylvania residents died of mesothelioma between 1999 and 2013. During that same period, 473 residents died of asbestosis. The leading counties in Pennsylvania for mesothelioma deaths were Allegheny (288), Philadelphia (222), and Montgomery (205). It is important to keep in mind also that many other victims may have worked in Pennsylvania, but have since moved elsewhere.
BoRit Asbestos Site
To this day, the BoRit Asbestos Site remains a Superfund site on the National Priorities List of the EPA. The site, located in Ambler, operated from the early 1900s to the 1960s. At the site, asbestos-containing material from a nearby manufacturing plant was disposed of. The site was added to the National Priorities List in 2009 because it is located near a residential area, which could be exposed to airborne asbestos. Further, there is a threat of contamination in Tannery Run, Rose Valley Creek, and Wissahickon Creek.
Testing indicated that airborne asbestos levels were not a public health hazard as long as the soil on the site was not significantly disturbed. As a precautionary measure, visitors were instructed not to come into direct contact with the soil. The Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) recommended the removal of materials that were contaminated with asbestos and to continue evaluation of the site.
Long-term exposure to asbestos can lead to the development of serious diseases that require significant medical cost to treat. In some cases, those responsible for your exposure to asbestos can be held responsible. For more information on asbestos-related diseases, contact an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, our attorneys travel the country to meet and help victims of asbestos exposure.