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Top 5 States for Asbestos Exposure

Legally Reviewed by Joseph P. Williams on January 8, 2024

Asbestos was a widely used mineral throughout the U.S. until its regulation by the government in the 1980s. Today, it still exists in some capacity in all 50 states. It remains present in the walls and floors of thousands of buildings and job sites. Some states are hotspots for asbestos exposure due to the amount of industrial and commercial activities there while asbestos was popular. If you live in one of the top five states for asbestos exposure, you may be at risk of developing a deadly disease. The Williams Law Firm can help you in this case.


A number of factors make California the main state for asbestos exposure and related diagnoses, including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. First, it has the highest population out of any state, leading to a greater number of cases. Second, it is home to many mines that contain naturally occurring asbestos. These sources are found in 45 counties across the state. Third, California has many industries that run an increased risk of asbestos exposure, including mining, oil and gas, and shipyards.

The greatest concerns are California locations that sit directly on top of large deposits of serpentine rock: El Dorado County and the Clear Creek Management Area. Chrysotile, or white asbestos, originates from serpentine rock. The Clear Creek Management Area sits on a 31,000-acre serpentine deposit and used to be the home of the Atlas Asbestos Mine. It is currently still visited by thousands of campers and hikers each year.


Pennsylvania has the second-highest asbestos exposure rate. This is largely due to the prevalence of asbestos mining and processing in Pennsylvania in the 20th century. For example, Ambler, Pennsylvania, a mining town, is still dealing with environmental contamination and a high number of illnesses despite its mines and factories being closed years ago. Ambler has been called the “Asbestos Capital of the World.” Those who worked in shipyards, mines, steel mills and in locomotive building in Pennsylvania are at the highest risk of exposure.


Florida is third on the list. Even though asbestos does not naturally occur anywhere in Florida, large amounts were shipped from Pennsylvania to Tampa, St. Petersburg, Boca Raton, Jacksonville and Pompano Beach for processing in the 20th century. It was also shipped to the state in the form of asbestos-containing products and materials.

In addition, due to its amount of coastline, Florida is a major center for shipbuilding and offshore drilling activities. These are two industries that run the risk of asbestos exposure for workers and the surrounding communities. Power plants, manufacturing plants and agricultural activities can also put Florida workers at risk of asbestos exposure.

New York

New York is the fourth-highest state for asbestos exposure. As a bustling center of industrial and construction activity in the 20th century, New York poses a high risk of asbestos exposure to workers and citizens. It was one of the first states to popularize the use of asbestos in construction projects and to bring this mineral to America from overseas. New York is also home to some of America’s largest shipyards and manufacturing facilities. Hundreds of job sites throughout New York have been identified as asbestos locations, in addition to many hospitals, schools, historic districts, and more.


The fifth-highest state in terms of asbestos exposure is Texas. Asbestos in Texas occurs both naturally and comes from out of state. Texas has a few different industries that put workers at risk of asbestos exposure, including oil and gas, military, manufacturing, shipyards, and chemical plants. Even living next to one of these hazardous job sites could result in asbestos exposure, especially as some companies have had a history of dumping asbestos in landfills.

If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos in any state in the country, consult with an attorney to discuss your legal options. 

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