Vermont Mesothelioma Resources and Asbestos Information

The state of Vermont was named after the green mountains that pepper its landscape, but this same greenish hue is also an indicator of the presence of asbestos – a toxic substance once thought safe. The same geologic process that produced green colored minerals such as chlorite, quartz, and mica, also produced a generous amount of serpentine, which is the source of chrysotile asbestos. Additionally, at one time, Vermont produced chrysotile for industrial applications and was also the first state in which commercial asbestos mining took place. There are a variety of locations in northern Vermont that were considered for asbestos mining; however, these locations were never developed for this purpose. One such location would have been a lucrative source of amphibole asbestos, which is even deadlier than the more frequently-used chrysotile. Between 1980 and 2000, there was a 20% increase in Vermont's population; nevertheless, it is still one of the least populated states in the country, ranking second only to Wyoming. Seventy-five asbestos related fatalities were reported in the two decades prior to the turn of the century, and Vermont ranks 46th in the country for incidence of mesothelioma. The last functional asbestos mine in the United States was located in Vermont and closed its doors in 1993. However, prior to the 1980s, asbestos was a commonly used ingredient in a wide variety of building materials such as concrete water pipes, linoleum flooring, insulation, ceiling materials, transite – a kind of wall board – and pipe lagging. Another material used in insulation called vermiculite is not harmful in itself, but is commonly contaminated with a form of amphibole asbestos. As a result of the wide variety of asbestos-containing building materials used throughout Vermont in the past, asbestos is commonly found in residential structures, as well as commercial buildings where one would not usually expect asbestos to be found, such as office buildings, hospitals and schools. Plants that generate electrical energy are particularly dangerous places in which to work, due to the fact that asbestos was frequently used in such plants as an insulator against electrical currents and heat, as well as a flame retardant substance. Prior to the 1980s, electric cloth, electric wiring, and panel partitions typically contained asbestos. People who work or live near areas of Vermont where asbestos exposure may have occurred should be regularly checked for signs of asbestos cancers or malignant mesothelioma, in order to obtain an early diagnosis and begin immediate treatment should the disease be present.