From the early 1900s to 2003, large-scale U.S. mining operations unearthed asbestos. They distributed the raw material to manufacturers, who processed it into thousands of different products containing asbestos.
During the course of mining, workers used little to no protection. Raw materials often ejected huge clouds of asbestos fibers into the air as they were processed. Mining operations also had little regard for maintaining a clean and safe environment during extraction.
Asbestos Mining and Cancer Risk
Mining companies frequently failed to provide asbestos miners with the equipment needed to protect themselves from the deadly fibers. They ignored the dangers, even though medical evidence of the dangers of asbestos circulated well throughout the height of asbestos mining. By the 1930s, several major figures in the medical community published reports on the deadly effects of asbestos that went unheeded.
As a result, asbestos exposure affected thousands, if not tens of thousands, of miners. Worse, those that lived in communities like Libby, Montana, were exposed to fibers released into the air. Around 200 people who used to live in Libby have died. More than 1,000 have deadly diagnoses for asbestos-related illnesses such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.
Because of this enormous risk of death from asbestos exposure and general mining operations, many experts consider asbestos mining to be one of the most dangerous occupations in history.
Demand and Output for Asbestos Mining
Asbestos mining operations persisted as a result of the enormous demand for the raw material. U.S. manufacturers imported the majority of their asbestos, but they still made use of domestic asbestos mines.
U.S. asbestos mines hit peak production in 1973. That year, operations mined 136,000 tons of the material.
Notable Asbestos Mine Locations
The following locations once served as major asbestos mining operations:
- Libby, Montana
- Iron Range, Minnesota
- Belvidere Mountain, Vermont
- Lowell Quarry, Vermont
- Coalinga, California
- Morenci, Arizona
- Tempe, Arizona
If you or a family member once worked in or near an asbestos mine and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, contact Mesowatch immediately. You will receive a free, confidential case evaluation as well as immediate assistance. Our nationwide legal team will work quickly to pursue the maximum available compensation for your losses from all liable parties and trust funds.