Mesothelioma is an aggressive, fast-moving cancer of the mesothelium. This is the tissue that surrounds vital organs, including the heart, lungs, and stomach. Most often, mesothelioma begins in the chest lining (the pleura) and then spreads. The only proven cause of this disease is asbestos exposure.
According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the yearly number of deaths due to mesothelioma increased 4.8 percent between 1999 – 2015. Thus, despite asbestos regulation by state and federal governments, it continues to be a threat to public health.
Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma
Asbestos is a group of six types of naturally occurring minerals made up of strong, heat-resistant fibers. Once considered a “miracle mineral,” asbestos was used in many household products and by many industries. However, the dangers of asbestos weren’t known until the early 1930s when the first case of asbestosis was diagnosed in the U.S. and the link between asbestos and lung cancer was discovered. In 1943, a German study reported the first mesothelioma-like tumor.
People who worked around or with products made of asbestos fibers typically breathed in or swallowed these small particles. They also often brought the fibers home on their clothing, exposing their families to asbestos, as well. When these fibers are inhaled or ingested, some may get trapped in the mucous membranes of the throat and nose and can be removed. But some move on deep into the lungs or into the digestive tract and get trapped there causing serious health issues years or even decades later.
Because mesothelioma has a long latency period, a person might not exhibit symptoms for up to 50 years after being exposed to asbestos. There are a variety of reasons why it’s difficult for doctors to diagnose this disease, including:
- Mesothelioma can imitate other types of medical conditions. Symptoms such as a dry cough, muscle weakness, night sweats, fatigue, or fluid around the lungs are characteristics of many other illnesses such as respiratory distress and other cancers.
- Mesothelioma doesn’t present as a tumor. It’s often only found later when the disease has metastasized into an organ.
- Mesothelioma takes many years before exhibiting symptoms.
Asbestos Sites and Industries in Arizona
Arizona ranks 16th in the U.S. for mesothelioma and asbestosis deaths. Between 1999 – 2013, there were 812 mesothelioma and asbestosis deaths.
Because exposure typically occurs on the job, employees working in specific industries are at a higher risk of developing mesothelioma. Here is a short list of those industries:
- Construction and demolition workers
- Drywallers, tile workers, and painters
- Asbestos miners, millers, and manufacturers
- Carpenters and roofers
- Auto mechanics
- Oil refinery and chemical plant workers
Arizona Asbestos Sites
A 2007 report by the United States Geological Survey stated that Arizona has 106 naturally occurring asbestos sites. Ninety-six of them are composed of chrysotile asbestos—one of the six types of fibers almost completely banned in the U.S. Additionally, 44 of 46 asbestos mines in Arizona were located in Gila County.
Arizona has had many facilities, institutions, and companies where asbestos was used and/or processed and endangered workers. Many of them have been cleaned up now, but employees who worked at these facilities before 1990 may have worked in environments that exposed them to asbestos. They include:
- Navajo Army Depot - Bellemont, AZ
- Williams Air Force Base - Chandler, AZ
- Luke Air Force Base - Glendale, AZ
- Yuma Marine Corps Base - Yuma, AZ
- Laughlin Power Plant - Bullhead City, AZ
- Chandler Power Plant - Cochise, AZ
- Cochise Power Plant - Douglas, AZ
- Salt River Power Plant - Glendale, AZ
- Aqua Fria Power Plant - Hayden, AZ
- Palo Verde Nuclear Plant - Phoenix, AZ
- Arizona Public Service Power Plant - Red Rock, AZ
- SRP Coronado Power Plant - St. Johns, AZ
- Phelps Dodge Copper Plant - Morenci, AZ
- Arizona Public Service Navaho Power Plant - Navajo Reservation, AZ
- Motorola Plant - Phoenix, AZ
- Arizona Public Service Ocotillo Power Plant - Tempe, AZ
- SRP Kyrene Power Plant - Tempe, AZ
- Arizona Public Service Saguaro Power Plant - Tucson, AZ
- SRP Power Plant - Page, AZ
- Southwest Forest Industry Paper Mill - Snow Flake, AZ
- Kennecott Copper Mine - Hayden, AZ
- Kennecott Copper Mine - Joseph City, AZ
- Duval Mine - Mineral Rock, AZ
- General Electric - Phoenix, AZ
- Mountain Bell Telephone - Phoenix, AZ
- Owens Corning - Phoenix, AZ
- Salt River Project Powerhouse - Phoenix, AZ
- Santa Fe Peoria Track - Phoenix, AZ
- Western Electric - Phoenix, AZ
- Arizona Railroad Co. - San Manuel, AZ
- San Manuel Copper Refinery - San Manuel, AZ
Arizona’s San Carlos Indian Reservation
Home to many asbestos mines, the San Carols Indian Reservation used this mineral frequently and considered it very important. These mines generated half a million dollars in revenue by 1956. Here is a list of the mines on that property:
- Bear Canyon Mine
- Great View Mines
- Rek Towne Mine
- Apache Mine
- Chiricahua Claim
- Jaquays Mining Corporation
- Pine Top Mine
- Salt River Mine
- Mystery Claim
Other Asbestos Mines Across the State:
- Abril Mine
- Cemetery Ridge
- Empire No. 2 Shaft
- Kyle Asbestos Mines
- Putman Wash
- Sorsen Asbestos Prospect
- Bass Mine
- Dome Rock Mountains Mine
- Hance Mine
- Phillips Asbestos Mines
- Roadside Mines
- Stansbury Asbestos Prospect
Asbestos Cancer and Mesothelioma Treatment Centers in Arizona
If you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, it’s important that you work closely with a doctor who specializes in asbestos-related cancers. Arizona has some facilities for mesothelioma treatment, including:
Arizona Cancer Center
University of Arizona
3838 N. Campbell Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85719-1454
Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center
1111 E. McDowell Road
Phoenix, Arizona 85006
13400 East Shea Blvd.
Scottsdale, Arizona 85259
Arizona Asbestos Lawsuits
Arizona has a two-year statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit against employers who exposed workers to asbestos. However, workers can also file a claim against a trust fund that has been created to compensate employees who were exposed. Companies that used asbestos or asbestos-containing products are responsible for the injuries they’ve caused their employees, no matter how long ago that exposure occurred.
Call Neblett, Beard & Arsenault
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma or a family member has died from this disease, contact Neblett, Beard & Arsenault. Our mesothelioma attorneys will discuss your legal options and are committed to getting you the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call our office directly at 318.541.8188.