Businesses Near Allentown, PA Linked to Mesothelioma

If you live in or near Allentown, PA, you’re likely aware of the city’s connection to heavy industries like shipbuilding, steel, locomotive construction, manufacturing, and more. However, you may not know how many Allentown residents have suffered from asbestos exposure while at work.

Even limited asbestos exposure could put you at risk for asbestos-related illnesses, lung cancer, and other debilitating, chronic conditions. Unfortunately, Allentown and the state of Pennsylvania have some of the highest rates of asbestos-related illnesses and deaths.

In fact, from 1999 to 2015, Pennsylvania had the second-highest number of mesothelioma deaths in the United States, with more than 13 in every one million residents dying from asbestos-related lung cancer. Alongside heavy asbestos use at warehouses and manufacturing plants, the state also has more than 40 documented asbestos mines and deposits, potentially increasing the risk of asbestos exposure.

Today, you still risk exposure to asbestos in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Further, several local businesses may have potentially exposed hundreds, if not thousands, of employees to the toxic mineral.

If you or a loved one has received a diagnosis of mesothelioma, lung cancer, or another asbestos-related illness, you may qualify for compensation. Reach out to our experienced team of Allentown mesothelioma and asbestos attorneys at Halpern Law Firm today at (800) 505-6000 for more information and a free consultation.

What Is Mesothelioma?

Before discussing the details behind the reports of asbestos exposure at several Allentown, PA, businesses, let us establish the definition and causes of mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a type of malignant lung cancer caused by inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers. After exposure, asbestos fibers can become lodged in your lungs, heart, or abdomen, leading to inflammation, chronic diseases, and death.

Asbestos fibers became popular in construction and manufacturing industries in the 1940s era due to their flexible, heat and corrosion-resistant makeup. Due to these features, companies added asbestos to materials like concrete, paper, and plastic to improve their durability. In the years that followed, however, researchers became aware of the risks of asbestos.

Unfortunately, nearly 30 million United States workers had already suffered from long-term exposure when companies stopped the widespread use of asbestos in the late 1970s. Since then, doctors have diagnosed more than 3,000 cases of mesothelioma each year, with the majority found in men over 65.

The Most At-Risk Industries for Asbestos Exposure in Pennsylvania

As mentioned above, asbestos exposure primarily causes mesothelioma. In many cases, manufacturing and heavy industrial workers endured long-term exposure to dangerous asbestos fibers in Pennsylvania. Even modern employees are at risk for asbestos exposure, as many buildings and manufacturing plants built between 1940 and 1979 still contain asbestos products.

Some of the most at-risk industries for asbestos exposure in Pennsylvania include:


Pennsylvania has played a pivotal role in the steel industry. Steel mills, like Allentown’s Bethlehem Steel Mill, used extremely high temperatures to refine, shape, and manipulate the alloy for various purposes.

Steelmakers turned to heat-resistant asbestos to protect their workers and equipment from the extreme temperatures needed to forge steel. Mills used asbestos-based insulation on ovens, furnaces, tanks, boilers, rolling mills, and other heavy equipment to reduce the risk of fires and injuries. In addition, workers used gloves, aprons, leggings, and masks made of asbestos to protect themselves from burns.


Vermiculite may not seem like a threat to Allentown, PA, residents, especially since the mineral comes from mines in Montana. However, for nearly five decades, the W.R. Grace Corporation shipped more than 400,000 tons of asbestos-contaminated vermiculite to Pennsylvania processing centers.

The contamination went undetected from 1948 to 1993. During that time period, processing centers used the ore to create insulation, gardening compost, and other materials. When disturbed, the products would release asbestos fiber into the air, which gardeners, construction workers, and consumers could potentially inhale.


Like steel mill workers, workers in the locomotive industry suffered from daily exposure to asbestos. Locomotive engine manufacturing workers used asbestos to build heavy-duty engines that could haul heavy loads for thousands of miles. Further, manufacturing companies used asbestos to insulate and protect their equipment and workers.


Pennsylvania may not have miles of coastline, but the Delaware River allows easy access to the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, the state became a shipbuilding, drydock, and naval hub in the United States.

With shipbuilding factories, naval yards, and drydocks came more asbestos use, however. Workers used the mineral to insulate incinerators, pipes, and boilers on ships, especially vessels that carried gasoline or oil. Manufacturers also mixed asbestos into ship paint and decking for an added layer of fire protection.

Pennsylvania and Allentown Mesothelioma Statistics

  • The highest number of mesothelioma-related deaths in Pennsylvania have occurred in and around Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
  • More than 17,700 Pennsylvania residents died from asbestos-related illnesses between 1999 and 2017.
  • Pennsylvania has the third-highest asbestos-related death rate in the United States, as of August 2021.

Pennsylvania’s mesothelioma and asbestos statistics provide a startling look at the long-term effects that come with asbestos exposure. The exposure doesn’t end at the state’s steel mills or boatyards, either. Several asbestos manufacturing centers called Pennsylvania home, with the first opening in the late 1800s and the last manufacturing plant closing its door in the late 1980s.

By the time that plant closed down, workers and residents had already suffered the effects of long-term asbestos exposure. Many developed asbestos-related diseases like lung cancer and asbestosis, a chronic illness caused by inhaling asbestos fibers.

Allentown, PA, Companies That Exposed Workers to Asbestos

Several major Allentown, Pennsylvania, companies have recorded asbestos exposure in their workers, including:

  • AT&T
  • Allentown Hospital
  • Bethlehem Steel Company
  • Sears Roebuck Company
  • General Electric Company
  • A.B.E. Airport
  • Pennsylvania Power & Light
  • Eastern Industrial Insulation

If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos while working at an Allentown, PA, business, you may have a legal claim.

Our team at Halpern Law Firm has years of experience supporting and representing asbestos victims and their family members in and around Allentown.

For more information on our Allentown mesothelioma and asbestos services or to determine if you qualify for compensation, please contact the Halpern Law Firm team today at (800) 505-6000 and schedule your free consultation.

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