Maine Mesothelioma Resources and Asbestos Information

Though asbestos has not been mined in the United States since 2002, some of the world’s largest asbestos deposits are on the North American continent.  In Quebec, Canada, asbestos is still mined and shipped to developing countries.  Maine, which shares a border with Quebec, also contains deposits of asbestos, although it is not mined for. Before the 1980s, there were many commercial applications for cheap and pliable asbestos. Unfortunately, these products exposed a large number of people to the dangerous mineral. To date, researchers have determined a plethora of diseases directly caused by inhalation of asbestos. These include mesothelioma cancer, asbestosis, lung cancer and a myriad of respiratory diseases. If detected early enough, many of these illnesses can be treated. Unfortunately, many patients are not properly diagnosed due to their own inability to make the correlation with past exposure. With approximately 1.27 million residents, Maine is one of the least populate states within the union. Correspondingly, compared with larger and more populous states, the raw number of asbestos-related diseases is small. Proportionally, however, the rates of these diseases are high. The large number of deposits and the prevalence of several different industries during the last century meant a lot of people in Maine were exposed to this particular carcinogen. Workers at both fossil-fueled and hydroelectric power plants are at risk, since asbestos-containing materials were very commonly used anywhere that sparks or extreme temperatures posed a safety hazard.  Maine’s natural forests meant that it was a hub of the paper industry, which obviously has a significant need for fireproofing materials and unfortunately made heavy use of asbestos.  Shipyards and military installations, too, were hotbeds of asbestos. Though Maine’s relatively strict environmental laws impose heavy fines on companies who have knowingly exposed their workers to asbestos, it is too late to protect the health of many of these workers.  Researchers believe that the actual numbers of Maine's citizens that have died or are currently affected by their previous exposure are grossly under represented. There are a host of problems that arise from statistics skewed towards the low end. Money and resources aren't being adequately apportioned for asbestos related disease, especially mesothelioma.