Asbestos in Alaska

At first, you might not think of Alaska as having a potential problem with asbestos exposure.  After all, when you stop to consider that a large part of exposure to asbestos can come from insulation in older buildings, the state doesn’t have that many structures that are older than 1975.  Alaska, however, does have asbestos deposits in a large section of its geological composition.  It also has Naturally Occurring Asbestos (NOA) which has been found in some gravel materials.  Work has been delayed on several major projects in the state, including the Dalton Highway, the airport, and a variety of public projects while trying to discern the contamination levels of Alaska asbestos.

Two of the more sizeable deposits are located near Ketchikan and Juneau.  Still, these deposits have not yet presented the threat to the state’s population that shipbuilding and ship repair has.  Alaska does have a few of those businesses.  As well, the oil industry, which is a key component to Alaska’s economy, and paper mills are known to have asbestos fibers present at their facilities.

If you have worked at a facility which provides these services, you may be at risk for exposure to the toxic substance.  Contact an asbestos attorney today to get asbestos help in Alaska.  Discuss your situation with a lawyer to see if you may have recourse as a victim of this environmental circumstance.

Alaska Asbestos Regulations

Alaska Asbestos Regulations are governed by the state.  Alaska is designated by the Environmental Protection Agency as Region 10.  The Department of Occupational Safety and Health supervises training courses, licensing, and certifications.  Asbestos removal must be performed by certified workers as it is a dangerous substance and can easily be spread through the air during demolition or renovation of buildings if the proper care is not maintained.  Site audits and inspections must be performed before asbestos removal can be undertaken.

Asbestos-Related Illnesses

Asbestosis - The largest danger to being exposed to asbestos is breathing in the fibers, which is easily done.  Dust particles hang in the air, can get on your clothes, and can be nearly impossible to see.  When a substance is “in the air,” and you don’t know it, there’s not much you can do to avoid it.  Asbestosis can scar your lungs, thereby making it harder for you to breathe by reducing lung capacity.  This symptom only gets worse.

Mesothelioma - This is perhaps the deadliest eventuality stemming from asbestos exposure.  Malignant mesothelioma is insidious because it may take years to develop, and all the while you may not know it.  Asbestos fibers can grow into a cancer within your lungs, whereby the membranes lining your lungs are attacked, along with your abdominal cavity and chest wall.  It may take years for the asbestos fibers to create the deadly cancer in your body.

If you believe you are a victim of these environmental circumstances, contact an asbestos attorney today to discuss your case.  You may also want to contact Providence Health Services to get asbestos help in Alaska to determine your medical condition.  This is a special cancer center in Anchorage.

Alaska Health Statistics

In comparison to the rest of the United States, the number of deaths in Alaska from asbestosis and mesothelioma may seem small.  One, however, is too many.  Between 1979 and 2000, 25 deaths were reported in the state from asbestosis and between 23 and 31, some not being confirmed.  The United States government began seriously tracking the deaths related to asbestos exposure and contamination illnesses in 1999.  From 1999 through 2004, 30 deaths from mesothelioma were reported.  Even though asbestos has not been in “new” use in the United States for 20 years, deaths are increasing.  What does that tell us?

Get Help for Asbestos

If you have worked in any industry associated with this toxic substance, contact an asbestos attorney today to get asbestos help in Alaska.  Even if you have not experienced any symptoms as yet, rest assured that this is a dangerous substance and you need to be aware of its hazards and any recourse you may have to help you in the future.