Seven Texas counties report high mortality rate from occupational asbestos exposure
TEXAS MESOTHELIOMA STUDY
May 7, 2010 – Compared with other states in the country, Texas ranks No. 5 for asbestos-related mortalities linked to asbestosis and mesothelioma, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit public information organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.
Only California, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania are ranked higher, says the EWG study.
Most of the mesothelioma deaths in Texas are centered in the industrial urban areas of Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Galveston and San Antonio.
The data is based on an examination of U.S. death certificates recorded by the federal government between 1979 and 2001.
On the EWG’s list of the “Top 100 U.S. Counties For Asbestos-Related Mortalities,” Texas has the dubious distinction of contributing seven. The seven Texas counties plagued by asbestos are: Harris, Jefferson, Dallas, Bexar, Tarrant, Orange and Galveston counties.
Texas mesothelioma update
According to the report, asbestos exposure killed at least 2,651 people in the state between 1979 and 2001. This figure, however, “likely represents less than 20 percent of total asbestos mortality during that time,” the report says, because “mesothelioma was not tracked by the federal government as a cause of death until 1999.”
When the government began tracking mesothelioma as a cause of death, U.S. mortality from asbestos illnesses more than doubled, from 935 in 1998, to 2,343 in 1999.
Mesothelioma is the signature asbestos-related cancer and is diagnosed in 3,000 people every year in the United States.
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