Trends of Asbestos-Related Diseases

Asbestos consumption reached a peak in 1973. The EPA banned spray-on asbestos surfacing materials for the purpose of fireproofing and insulation in 1973. Between 1973 and 1989, there were four more bans that were enacted and the production and consumption of asbestos in the US declined. Despite this, there are variations in the incidence and mortality of malignant mesothelioma for different regions in the US. This may be due to a variety of reasons. People can be exposed to asbestos through home renovations and can be exposed secondarily. Although new uses of asbestos have been banned, asbestos products that are already in the market are still out there being used. These products include knitted fabric, brake linings for cars, rubber sheets for gasket manufacture and asbestos-cement pipe, to name a few.

Types and Tons

In 2016, 1.28 million tons of asbestos were mined worldwide. Domestic consumption of asbestos made up approximately 10.6 percent of the total amount of asbestos consumption in the US from 1900 to 2015. Consumption and production increased between these times and exponentially decreased after 1973. Only about 343 tons of asbestos were used in the US in 2015. In 2021, 320 metric tons of asbestos were used. Although this is low relative to the peak, the fact that the US was still using that much asbestos at that time after the dangers of the material were well known is of concern. Between the years 1975 and 2003, flooring and roofing materials made up about 54% of usage, while paper, plastics, textiles and other categories accounted for 20% of asbestos consumed and automotive friction products accounted for approximately 14% of usage.

Incidence Rate of Mesothelioma

The incidence rate of mesothelioma in men increased from 1975 and 1992 and decreased after that time. Before 1983, incidence of mesothelioma increased in women and after that time stayed relatively stagnant.

Serpentine rock is the type of rock that most chrysotile asbestos is found in. Serpentine rock exists mostly in mountain belts such as the Cascades, the Appalachians, Coast Ranges of California and Oregon and more. It seems that there was a North-South gradient when it comes to the average mesothelioma mortality rates across 48 states between 1999 and 2015. Regions that experience higher temperatures usually show low mesothelioma mortality rates, while regions with lower temperatures experience higher mesothelioma mortality rates. Since more insulation is needed in northern states where it is colder, workers and people renovating their houses may be exposed to asbestos insulation more than those in the south.

There have been reports of over three thousand products made with asbestos, including asbestos-cement tiles, water tanks, canvas and brake pads for cars and trucks, thermal insulations fabrics, reinforced plastics, automotive gaskets, vinyl flooring, inks, asphalts and hydraulic cardboards.

Studies have found that cases of mesothelioma in women are now increasing. When it comes to mesothelioma in men, about 85% of cases are the result of occupational exposure.

Friable vs. Non-friable asbestos

Asbestos is either friable or non-friable, or loose or compact. Friable asbestos can easily be released into the surrounding environment. Some examples of friable asbestos include floors, coal stoves, suspended ceilings and floors, fireproofing spray and fire door interiors, insulation boards/panels, boilers, pipework, asbestos blankets or asbestos paper tape, ducts, walls and more. Examples of non-friable, or compact asbestos, include mortars, corrugated roofing, shingles, pipes, water tanks and masonry fillers. It is important to note that due to weathering or disturbance of non-friable asbestos materials, these materials can also be released into the air.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, do not hesitate to call the Halpern Law Firm at (800) 505-6000. You may also fill out our form for more information. We have over 30 years of experience with these cases and have won over $100 million for our clients.


Written By Sadie Gold

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