Mesothelioma in the United States: Top 10 States for Asbestos Exposure (2024)

Mesothelioma is a very rare cancer, but it and other diseases caused by asbestos exposure are often the result of negligence by manufacturers, employers, and other parties. These companies knew the dangers of asbestos exposure, yet they prioritized profit over the health and safety of individuals. Since many of these companies had a nationwide presence, it can be useful to examine mesothelioma in the United States, including the top 10 states for asbestos exposure.

Mesothelioma in the United States: Top 10 States for Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos exposure causes an increased risk of mesothelioma, a deadly and aggressive cancer in the linings of certain organs. Because the primary cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure, the number of mesothelioma cases and deaths in each state can point to which states are likely to have higher concentrations of asbestos, either from natural resources or imported goods. Based on CDC data, between 2016 and 2020, 12,403 people in the U.S. died from mesothelioma, and 14,774 people were diagnosed as new cases.

Between those same years, individual states had the following statistics regarding mesothelioma cases:

  1. California reported 1,189 mesothelioma deaths, the highest number in the country, due in part to its large population. It has one of the lowest rates in the country, with .5 deaths per 100,000 people. There were 1,525 new mesothelioma cases reported during those years. This state employs many individuals in shipyards, oil industries, mining, and power plant industries, all of which have varying levels of risk of asbestos exposure. There are also natural asbestos deposits found in 45 counties in the state.
  2. Florida reported 875 mesothelioma deaths, the second-highest number of deaths in the country, and 1,131 new cases. Florida does not have any natural asbestos deposits. Asbestos exposure primarily occurs in shipyards, power plants, offshore oil rigs, and mining rigs. It is normally found in the construction and demolition industries.
  3. Texas reported 709 deaths and 964 new cases. There are natural sites for asbestos and exposure in certain industries. This includes steel mills, chemical plants, shipping companies, automotive factories, and the petroleum industry.
  4. In Pennsylvania, there were 709 reported deaths, and 828 reported new mesothelioma cases. There are several significant natural asbestos deposits in Pennsylvania and several asbestos mines. Asbestos exposure also occurs in the steel mill industry, shipyards, and locomotive factories.
  5. New York reported 626 deaths and 888 new cases. Many buildings, skyscrapers, and other large construction projects in New York were built with asbestos products, including roofing, tiles, insulation, and other products. New York citizens also face exposure through industries like mining, shipyards, construction, renovation, and power plants.
  6. Ohio reported 566 mesothelioma deaths between those years and 608 new cancer cases.
  7. Michigan reported 495 deaths and 526 new cases.
  8. Illinois reported 487 mesothelioma deaths and 625 new mesothelioma cases. Some of the most common causes of asbestos exposure were industries like construction, demolition, renovation, and shipyards. Living and working at military bases also increased the risk of exposure.
  9. New Jersey reported 390 deaths and 527 new cases.
  10. In Washington, there were 379 reported deaths and 424 new mesothelioma cases.

Lung Cancer Deaths by State

It can also be useful to look at lung cancer and bronchus cancer deaths, although not all of these cases are the result of asbestos exposure. Unlike mesothelioma, there are other potential causes that can increase a person’s risk of non-mesothelioma lung cancer, including smoking, tobacco use, secondhand smoke inhalation, and radon exposure. The top ten states for lung and bronchus cancer deaths were:

  1. Florida, which reported 55,640 lung and bronchus deaths
  2. California, reporting 55,484
  3. Texas, with 44,539 deaths
  4. New York, which reported 37,978 deaths
  5. Pennsylvania, reporting 33,732 deaths
  6. Ohio, which reported 33,246 deaths
  7. Illinois, reporting 29,199
  8. Michigan, which reported 27,026 deaths from lung and bronchus cancer
  9. North Carolina, reporting 26,171 deaths
  10. Georgia, which reported 21,664

By looking at the number of lung cancer and mesothelioma deaths in these states, individuals can have a better understanding of which states may have higher asbestos exposure risks.


Q: What States Have the Most Asbestos?

A: Based on CDC data regarding mesothelioma deaths and new cases, the states with the most asbestos include:

  1. California
  2. Florida
  3. Texas
  4. Pennsylvania
  5. New York
  6. Ohio
  7. Michigan
  8. Illinois
  9. New Jersey
  10. Washington

Asbestos exposure can occur in old residential and commercial buildings as well as on job sites. Employment is one of the most common causes of severe exposure. It is more common in the construction industry, in shipyards, and in the automotive industry. States with significant reliance on these industries and a large workforce have a higher number of cases. Asbestos is also a naturally occurring material.

Q: Where Is Mesothelioma Most Commonly Found?

A: Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma, which is located in the lining of the lungs. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they damage lung tissue, resulting in scarring. This increases the chance of diseases, including mesothelioma. However, asbestos-exposure mesothelioma can also occur in the abdominal cavity, heart, and testicles.

Pleural asbestos is the most common, and it also has one of the longest latency periods, often taking as much as 60 years to show symptoms.

Q: Why Isn’t Asbestos Banned in the USA?

A: As of March 18, 2024, there is an official ban on chrysotile asbestos in the U.S., which is the only type of raw asbestos currently imported to and in use in the U.S. This isn’t a full ban, as it only applies to this form of asbestos, and companies are given a timeframe of up to 12 years to phase the material out of their manufacturing processes. U.S. mining of asbestos hasn’t occurred for several decades, but the material has been imported as recently as 2022. These imports were mined in other countries and exposed those employees to the dangers of asbestos.

Q: What Are the Odds of Dying From Asbestos Exposure?

A: One of the deadliest diseases resulting from asbestos exposure is mesothelioma. Between 8% and 13% of individuals with severe and continual asbestos exposure develop mesothelioma. According to a 2017 study of patients from an asbestos-exposed community, 30.7% of patients suffered from deaths related to asbestos, and 57.5% of those deaths were related to mesothelioma. The more significant your exposure, the higher your risk of these illnesses. Even minor exposure is dangerous and increases your risk.

Recovering Compensation in a Mesothelioma Claim

Contact Wallace & Graham, P.A., today to learn how we can help you build an effective mesothelioma claim.