Wyoming Mesothelioma Resources and Asbestos Information
Wyoming is the tenth largest state, but it is the most sparsely populated. Much of the state is uninhabited because only about five hundred thousand people live scattered across the expansive state, with inhabitants concentrated in several cities. Because of this, Wyoming also has the lowest amount of asbestos related deaths – only 67 between 1980 and 2000. Most of these asbestos-induced fatalities were evenly divided between mesothelioma and asbestosis, with most occurring around Laramie, Cheyenne, and Casper.
Despite the low number of deaths attributed to asbestos exposure, there are Wyoming industries that use this material because asbestos containing materials provide excellent protection against fire, corrosive chemicals, and electricity. The problem arises when the asbestos fibers break down and spread into the environment. Serious health risks arise from the inhalation or ingestion of asbestos fibers, such as mesothelioma and asbestosis.
Industry in Wyoming relies heavily on oil refining, which is a high risk industry for asbestos exposure. Petroleum is essentially the energy of the sun stored in plant matter. As many years pass, this matter decomposes, turning it into petroleum. That is, of course, after a refining process. There are several things that make petroleum an effective fuel source. Chief among these is that it is extremely flammable. Furthermore, the fuel is flammable and highly toxic at all stages of its refinement, making oil refinement a high risk industry to work in.
Because of the excellent job asbestos does in keeping fires from spreading, it is often used in the oil refinement industry. A British study in 2003 examined the mortality rates of people who worked at refineries in the actual refining department. Those who were examined had a significantly higher mortality rate caused by both types of asbestos cancer. Lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma-induced deaths were considerably higher than in the general population.
The operation of power plants is another important industry in Wyoming. Power plants are also some of the most hazardous places to work. According to a Puerto Rican study in 2003, more than 1,100 workers who had worked in a power plant for more than 16 years had chest x-rays taken. More than thirteen percent had asbestos-related abnormalities in their chests.
Although Wyoming’s size and sparse population contribute to its low incidence of asbestos-related disease and death, the presence of industry in the state is an example of the multiple ways asbestos exposure can occur.