Statistics About Asbestos Related Diseases & U.S. Death Rates

Asbestos is a group of naturally grown silica minerals found in rocks and soil. Asbestos has been mined and utilized in many products worldwide throughout the 20th century. In the U. S., mining of asbestos has been outlawed, but asbestos is still found in old homes and buildings, and some products still contain asbestos. Disturbing asbestos minerals or other asbestos-containing materials can release tiny asbestos fibers into the air. Workers and others who breathed asbestos fibers over many years are at risk to develop asbestos-related diseases that can be serious or fatal.

Statistics regarding Asbestos Related diseases

  • Asbestos exposure is the primary cause of work-related illnesses in the world.
  • Globally, approximately 90,000 people die from asbestos -related diseases each year.
  • Between 2- 10 percent of people exposed to asbestos will develop an asbestos-related disease
  • At least 30 Americans die each day from asbestos-caused illnesses
  • 80-90 percent of asbestos-related diseases are in the lungs.

Diseases Attributable to Asbestos Exposure

Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease that begins to develop when asbestos fibers cause scarring in your lungs. The scarring restricts your breathing and interferes with the ability of oxygen to enter your bloodstream. Asbestosis is non-cancerous but is an incurable lung disease. Those suffering from asbestosis are at higher risk of developing lung cancer or mesothelioma in the future.

Incidence: Unknown

Prognosis: Patients with a  diagnosis of asbestosis often live for several decades. However, the disease can be deadly, and many asbestosis patients suffer from severe respiratory issues.

Malignant Mesothelioma
Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer in the thin membrane that covers most of your internal organs, also known as the mesothelium. Mesothelioma is aggressive and a deadly form of cancer. Mesothelioma treatments are available to help with symptoms, but there is no cure for mesothelioma.

Incidence: There are an estimated 3,000 new mesothelioma cases every year.

Prognosis: The average life expectancy of mesothelioma patients is approximately 12 to 16 months.

Pleural Plaques
Pleural plaques are chalky build-ups of collagen. When someone inhales or swallows asbestos fibers, the fibers settle and form in the lining of lungs, also known as the pleura.  Most pleural plaques develop in the lining between the diaphragm and the chest wall. Pleural plaques are the most common asbestos disease and are considered a “confirmation” that someone has been exposed to asbestos.

Incidence: Unknown

Prognosis: Pleural plaques alone do not require any treatment. Someone could live decades with pleural plaques.

Lung Cancer
Lung Cancer occurs when cancerous cells within the body grow out of control. Lung cancer starts in the lungs and may spread to lymph nodes or other organs in the body. Cancer from other organs can also spread into the lungs. When cancerous cells spread from one organ into another, it is called metastasis.

Incidence: Lung cancer represents 12.7 percent of all new cancer cases.

Prognosis: Out of all the conditions, asbestos-related lung cancer claims the most lives. The average asbestos-related lung cancer life expectancy is 16 months.

Throat Cancer
Throat cancer describes cancer that develops in the throat , known as pharyngeal cancer, or that develops in  the voice box , known as laryngeal cancer. Throat cancers occur when cells in the throat develop genetic mutations. The mutations cause cells to grow uncontrollably and continue living after healthy cells would usually die. The cells accumulate and form a tumor in the throat.

Incidence: Laryngeal cancer represents 0.7 percent of all new cancer cases in the U.S.

Prognosis: Approximately 60 percent of laryngeal cancer patients survive at least five years.

Find answers to common questions our asbestos attorneys are asked, read about our experienced mesothelioma lawyers, or feel free to contact our mesothelioma attorneys directly with questions. One of our lawyers will be happy to answer any questions you might have about pursuing litigation with no obligation to file suit.

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“Asbestos Exposure and Cancer Risk”, NCI (June 7, 2017). [link]
“Asbestosis: Number of deaths by sex, race, age group, and the median age at death, U.S. residents age 15 and over, 2005–2014.” The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, (May 2017). [link]
“Survival Statistics for Mesothelioma” American Cancer Society (December 20, 2017). [link]