Asbestos in Erie, PA Poses Ongoing Health Hazards

Asbestos, a toxic mineral with notorious health risks, continues to cast a dark shadow over Erie, Pennsylvania, despite efforts to curb its presence. In 2023, the community of Erie finds itself grappling with the consequences of past industrial practices that exposed its residents to this silent killer. This article aims to shed light on the dangers of asbestos in Erie and highlight some of the factories that have contributed to its prevalence, emphasizing the urgent need for comprehensive asbestos management and public awareness.

Historical Factories and Asbestos:

Erie’s industrial past witnessed the proliferation of factories that extensively employed asbestos, unknowingly laying the groundwork for future health hazards. Among the notable establishments is the Hammermill Paper Company, which utilized asbestos extensively in its insulation products, exposing workers to dangerous asbestos fibers. Other prominent factories such as Erie Forge and Steel, Erie Coke Corporation, and Erie Malleable Iron Co. similarly employed asbestos in their operations, further contributing to the widespread contamination.

Health Risks and Erie’s Exposure:

The prevalence of asbestos in Erie poses significant health risks to its residents, both past and present. Exposure to asbestos fibers can lead to severe health conditions such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma—a rare and aggressive cancer primarily affecting the lining of the lungs and other organs. The latency period between exposure and the development of symptoms can range from 10 to 50 years, making it challenging to pinpoint the precise impact on Erie’s population today.

While the factories mentioned above have taken measures to mitigate asbestos exposure over the years, the risks remain. Aging infrastructure, demolitions, and renovations continue to disturb asbestos-containing materials, releasing harmful fibers into the environment. Moreover, secondary exposure is a concern, as workers inadvertently carry asbestos fibers home on their clothes, potentially endangering their loved ones.

Addressing the Crisis:

To effectively address the asbestos crisis in Erie, a multi-faceted approach is required. Firstly, rigorous inspection and remediation programs should be implemented to identify and safely remove asbestos from buildings, infrastructure, and industrial sites. This process necessitates the collaboration of local authorities, businesses, and residents to ensure thorough asbestos management.

Furthermore, public education campaigns should be launched to raise awareness about the risks associated with asbestos exposure. Informative workshops, pamphlets, and community forums can empower individuals to identify potential asbestos sources and take appropriate precautions. Education must target both workers who may encounter asbestos in their workplaces and residents who could be exposed to it during renovation or demolition activities.

Additionally, healthcare professionals in Erie should be equipped with the knowledge and resources necessary to diagnose and treat asbestos-related illnesses. By enhancing medical expertise and ensuring timely interventions, affected individuals can receive the care they need and deserve.


As Erie, Pennsylvania, stands on the threshold of a new era, the shadows of its industrial past continue to loom large. The ongoing presence of asbestos in the city poses a persistent threat to the health and well-being of its residents. By acknowledging the dangers, implementing comprehensive management strategies, and promoting awareness, Erie can work towards a future free from the shackles of asbestos-related illnesses. The time to act is now, for the health and safety of all who call Erie home.


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