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Maine Has Nation’s Highest Rate of Asbestos Deaths, Says CDC

Asbestos death rates are a national crisis that affect thousands of people each year. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says malignant mesothelioma, which can develop after inhaling asbestos fibers, caused or contributed to more than 45,000 deaths in the U.S. between 1999 and 2015. This is despite the fact that asbestos is regulated at the federal level, with many states administering their own supplementary asbestos laws and programs. Now, the CDC says that some states seem to be suffering from the lingering effects of asbestos use in the U.S. more than others are. Maine is at the top of the list.

According to the Bangor Daily News, in a March 2017 report “calling fresh attention to the dangers of asbestos,” CDC researchers found that during the 16-year period ending in 2015, “the annual death rate from malignant mesothelioma in Maine was 22.06 per million people, higher than in any other state.” Washington State was the only other state that reported death rates exceeding 20 per million annually.

Researchers found that sixteen other states also had high death rates from malignant mesothelioma including Alaska, Delaware, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Virginia. These states reported double-digit death rates not exceeding 20. The states with the ‘lowest’ reported death rates were Alabama, Arkansas, D.C., Georgia, Hawaii, Mississippi, and Oklahoma. The remaining states reported mesothelioma death rates ranging from 10 to 15 per million.

Double digits or not, the CDC says that the overall number of deaths occurring nationwide is alarming. Across the country, 45,221 people died from mesothelioma between 1999 and 2015. “That’s an increase of 4.8 percent during those years,” says the CDC. "The continuing occurrence of malignant mesothelioma deaths despite regulatory actions and decline in asbestos use underscores the need for maintaining asbestos exposure prevention efforts and for ongoing surveillance."

If you have been exposed to asbestos, see your doctor right away. Studies show that early diagnosis of asbestos-related disease such as malignant mesothelioma increases treatment options. This could greatly improve your chances of long-term survival.



Farwell, Jackie. “Maine’s Rate of Asbestos Deaths is Highest in Nation.” BDN Maine – Health. Bangor Daily News, 20 Apr. 2017. Web. 09 Oct. 2017.

Hersher, Rebecca. "Asbestos Deaths Remain A Public Health Concern, CDC Finds." NPR. NPR: National Public Radio, 11 Apr. 2017. Web. 27 Sept. 2017.

"Malignant Mesothelioma Mortality — United States, 1999–2015." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 01 Aug. 2017. Web. 27 Sept. 2017.