Utah Mesothelioma Resources and Asbestos Information
Asbestos-related disease in Utah has been carefully studied, and like many other states, the culprit has more often than not been the manufacturing sector of industry. In Utah, where there has been a great deal of mining activity, petroleum refining, and other hazardous occupations, employees were often exposed to asbestos fibers either because of the protective clothing worn or the use of asbestos as an insulating material in factories.
Many of the mines that have operated in Utah over the past century contained their own processing areas, where ore was crushed and sifted; these areas used coal to produce steam that drove the stamp mills and other machinery. Often housed in a structure lined with asbestos (as a heat retardant), operations at this type of location exposed many workers to escaped asbestos fibers.
For a state that does not produce any crude petroleum, Utah actually ranks very high in the total amount of oil being refined. These factories were fitted with conduit, pipes and distilling machinery that in most cases was protected by an insulating layer of asbestos. Decades later, studies on the health of individuals working in these locations showed a dramatic rise in the number of individuals with asbestos-caused illnesses, namely mesothelioma and asbestosis. It was determined that this increase was due to the decay of older buildings, which allowed friable fibers to escape into the immediate atmosphere of the facilities.
The state has a large number of historical buildings, some of which were found to have a high concentration of asbestos fibers. Since many of these buildings are left in their original state and not refurbished or modernized, the risk of exposure is elevated. And in buildings that do undergo maintenance and repair, the workers that perform these tasks are in danger of asbestos fiber inhalation.
Although asbestos is no longer used as a primary insulation and heat retardant material in modern buildings, the state of Utah has gathered together an extensive list of older structures that do contain these dangerous fibers. Overall, Utah has a very good safety record in the area of asbestos-caused illness, and a lower than average mortality rate for those diagnosed with cancer or other disorder caused by exposure to asbestos. Nevertheless, workers in buildings or facilities throughout the state are informed about the dangers of asbestos and told whether they are employed at a location known to have used asbestos or other hazardous materials in the past.