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Residents near asbestos sites have higher mortality rates

There are certain regions in the U.S. where industrial jobs and mining are among the top fields in which people work. In these areas, workers and their families have been known to be exposed to asbestos at a higher rate than people living and working in different areas.

Sadly, one recent report shows that the problem may even be worse than previously thought. While it has long been known that breathing in asbestos can be deadly, a study using death records and mortality projections in one area found that mortality rates may be as much as 50 percent higher than previously estimated.

The study focused primarily on the asbestos-related deaths that occurred in certain areas of Pennsylvania which are known to be very industrial.

Other parts of the country where there have been workers disproportionately affected by asbestos include those who worked in mid-Atlantic states, also known as the "Rust Belt," those who worked in shipbuilding in the Northeast states and those who lived near asbestos mines across the country, including right here in North Carolina.

Living in these areas put workers and their families at a much higher risk for developing mesothelioma or asbestosis than people may realize. In fact, the data suggests that deaths caused by asbestos in states with high concentrations of asbestos-related industries are about 50-100 percent above asbestos-related deaths suffered in other states.

While critical strides have been made in the past few decades to remove asbestos and make workplaces safer for people in high-risk occupations, no action can turn back the hands of time and protect those who were exposed 30, 40 or 50 years ago. These people are only now learning of their exposure and asbestos-related illnesses.

Studies like this one confirm that asbestos is a much more serious problem than people may realize. Even if you don't think you were exposed to asbestos, discussing where you worked and where you lived with a lawyer familiar with asbestos claims can be crucial in pursuing the damages you may deserve.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Study: Asbestos deaths in Allegheny County, Pa. much higher than national average," July 6, 2015

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