Alaska Mesothelioma Resources and Asbestos Information

Alaska’s industry revolves around its natural resources. In 2000, the Alaskan fishing industry harvested approximately 48 percent of all U.S. seafood. This amounted to over 4.46 billion pounds. With so much of the state’s workers employed on fishing ships, they also face all the associated dangers of harvesting one of the state’s main exports. However, the state’s major industry remains oil and natural gas, pulling in over 80 percent of the state’s revenue.  Other major industries in Alaska include food and kindred products, and lumber and wood.

While essential to the Alaskan economy, each of these industries presents its risks. Among them is the risk of dangerous material exposure, which is a consideration for many of these employees in Alaska’s shipping, resource extraction and transportation industries. Among these dangerous materials is asbestos, which found heavy usage as fireproofing material onboard ships and as a component on numerous pieces of heavy equipment.

The effects of asbestos in Alaska are present throughout the state, as is evident in the abundance of contractors working in the field of asbestos abatement. In addition to state agencies such as Environmental Quality or the Department of Health, there are other agencies that play a part in recognizing the dangers of asbestos and the need for cleanup. One such agency is the Department of Fish and Game, which was responsible for requesting the funds to clean up the town of Glennallen.

Friable or crumbling asbestos was found in a building acquired by the town of Glennallen from the Alaskan Department of Transportation. Despite the potential dangers of asbestos exposure, the building was simply labeled an “attractive nuisance.” Finally, a string of break-ins prompted town officials to dispose of the asbestos and demolish the building for fear of harm coming to the trespassers.

Alaskan industry also played a prominent role in the spread of asbestos, as it was used in various marine repair facilities, pulp mills, and even seafood processing plants. Also present are a number of power plants and oil companies that made use of the material for industrial purposes. Numerous public schools have also been affected by this material, as it was used widely throughout U.S. schools.


Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development