Arkansas Mesothelioma Resources and Asbestos Information

Asbestos exposure may still be a big problem for Arkansas' population in spite of the government's attempt to regulate it. People assume that asbestos has been banned but it is still used in some products on the market today. The many rules in place only regulate businesses that use it. Asbestos is sold to the home handyman or small construction businesses with no oversight. Although Congress does pass a yearly resolution naming an annual "Asbestos Awareness Week," it has so far not acted to ban the substance. Therefore, asbestos will likely be an area of concern for many years for every state, including Arkansas. Although asbestos can be found in its natural state in west Arkansas close to Hot Springs and Russellville, this poses little or no threat to residents. The real danger of exposure, however, comes from energy utilities. Employees of electric generating stations and oil refineries have complained of diseases related to working around asbestos. Arkansas reports that asbestos claimed an average of nearly fourteen lives every year between 1979 and 1999. Asbestosis, a chronic inflammation of the lungs, and mesothelioma, a rare cancer, were responsible for nearly all of these deaths. Pulaski County had the distinction of losing the most people, forty-four, to these two deadly diseases over that twenty year period. Asbestos was a popular building material used in most homes since the middle of the last century. Asbestos siding was a best seller because of its many benefits: it is fireproof, does not need to be painted and can imitate other more expensive wood sidings. In additions, this material was used on roofs and in insulation. Because of its remarkable durability, it is still a common sight in older buildings. In 2007 two buildings in Lowell which were scheduled to be torn down were found to contain a large amount of asbestos, primarily in the floor tile. It cost the city nearly $3,000 to get rid of the material before the buildings could be demolished. The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality oversees the removal of the mineral and sets standards for contractors who want a license for asbestos abatement. The Department of Pollution Control and Ecology actually issues the licenses and penalizes those who hire unlicensed businesses to remove asbestos.