Kansas Mesothelioma Resources and Asbestos Information

As a state primarily engaged in agriculture, Kansas has a lower incidence of asbestos-related illnesses and deaths than the national average since asbestos is used less frequently in agriculture than in other industries. Between 1979 and 1999, 360 people died from asbestos-related causes in Kansas, and approximately two-thirds of those deaths were from mesothelioma. The remaining third died of asbestosis. While asbestos is the more common disease, mesothelioma typically claims far more lives due to the aggressive and highly lethal nature of the cancer. On average, mesothelioma sufferers live approximately eighteen months. Asbestosis is serious and incurable, but it is not malignant.

The greatest number of asbestos-related deaths during the period of 1979-1999 occurred in Shawnee County, home of the state capitol and the most populous city, Topeka. Sedgwick County, in which Wichita is located, had the second highest number of asbestos related deaths, the majority of which were from mesothelioma. Specifically, based on reports from the Environmental Working Group, three locations were known to have significant asbestos exposure rates: Farmland Industries, Frontier Oil, and the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Facility.

Asbestos was used at these facilities primarily to insulate pipes, tanks, and roofing, and large-scale asbestos removal projects have occurred at Farmland Industries. While asbestos exposure has likely occurred at Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Facility, no injuries or asbestos-related deaths have been reported. While the use of materials containing asbestos has been legal in the past and still is today in Kansas, the state keeps a record of exposure sites and monitors likely asbestos exposure of employees to ensure its incidence of deaths remains low.