Arizona is a Southwestern state that is home to many naturally-occurring asbestos deposits. The state’s legacy of asbestos mining and its negative effects on human health can be traced to the late 19th Century. Additionally, several factories and buildings had a strong association with asbestos use prior to the warning of its dangers. As a result, Arizona is ranked 21st in the nation for asbestosis and mesothelioma deaths.
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be entitled to a significant amount of compensation. Fill out our form to get a free Financial Compensation Packet. You’ll learn about the top Arizona mesothelioma lawyers, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file a claim for the asbestos trust funds, and more.
We are happy to offer assistance in all cities and towns in Arizona, such as:
Phoenix, Tucson, Mesa, Chandler, Glendale, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Tempe, Peoria, Surprise, San Tan Valley, Yuma, Avondale, Goodyear, Casas, Adobes, Flagstaff, Buckeye, Lake Havasu City, Catalina, Foothills, Casa Grande, Maricop, Sierra Vista, Oro Valley, Prescott, Sun City, Prescott Valley, Bullhead City, Marana, Apache, Junction, El Mirage, San Luis, Queen Creek, Drexel Heights, Kingman, Fortuna, Foothills, Sahuarita, Florence, Sun City, West Fountain Hills, Green Valley, Anthem, Nogales, Rio Rico, Eloy, Douglas, Tanque Verde, Flowing Wells, Payson, Somerton,, New River, Fort Mohave, Sun Lakes, Sierra Vista Southeast, Paradise Valley, Verde Village, Tucson Estates, New Kingman-Butler, Coolidge, Cottonwood City, Camp Verde, Chino Valley, Vail, Show Low, Sedona, Gold Canyon, Valencia West, Tuba City, Safford, Saddlebrooke, Winslow, Picture Rocks, Arizona City, Golden Valley, Catalina, Globe, Page, Corona de Tucson, Tolleson, Village of Oak Creek (Big Park), Wickenburg, Doney Park, Youngtown, Guadalupe, South Tucson, Williamson, Snowflake, Bisbee, Litchfield Park, Avra Valley, Lake Montezuma, Cave Creek, Paulden, Benson, Holbrook, Three Points, Kayenta, Thatcher, Eagar, Colorado City, San Carlos, and more.
Arizona Asbestos Mining
According to a report by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Mines, asbestos was first identified in Arizona in 1872. However, large scale mining of asbestos, primarily of the chrysotile variety (known as white asbestos), did not start until 1912. That year was marked by the discovery of a huge deposit of chrysotile in the Salt River area. This prompted the beginning of prospecting and mineral extraction in central Arizona and elsewhere by companies such as John Mansville, W.R. Grace, and Jaquays Mining Corporation.
Mining of asbestos continued for decades until the early 1970s, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially linked asbestos exposure to diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. By the time the EPA banned many asbestos products in the late 20th Century, thousands of tons of asbestos were extracted from Arizona mines and many workers suffered the effects of exposure to the dangerous minerals.
Other Major Sources of Asbestos Contamination in Arizona
Arizona’s asbestos mining industry was the main source of the state’s troubles with the carcinogenic mineral, but not the only one. Many industries, especially those involved in construction and energy production, used the fibrous minerals in their facilities or made asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). Asbestos was used as insulation and to protect property, equipment and workers from the effects of fire, intense heat, or electrical discharges.
Even unrelated mineral mining and processing businesses were impacted by asbestos contamination. The Solomon’s Mines packing plant in Phoenix processed vermiculite, a mineral extracted from mines in Libby, Montana by W.R. Grace. In its normal, pure state, vermiculite is not dangerous to humans, but the deposits in Montana were contaminated by large amounts of asbestos fibers.
Another major vermiculite processing plant which handed ore mined by W.R. Grace in Libby was the Ari-Zonolite Company site in Glendale. According to a report prepared by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), this job site was leased by Ari-Zonolite from 1951 to 1964. It is estimated that over 200,000 tons of vermiculite ore was shipped to the Ari-Zonolite plant for processing. This ore was found to contain an estimated 21%-26% asbestos, but W.R. Grace considered this to be a natural and harmless side effect.
Ari-Zonolite processed the vermiculite from Libby to manufacture insulation products. This resulted in asbestos contamination not only of the Ari-Zonolite facility, especially in its furnace, but also of the finished products made in a 13-year-long timespan.
The furnace, according to the ADHS report, was moved to another facility. It is estimated that during its 13-year presence at the Glendale plant, the furnace was fed with vermiculite concentrate through a feed pipe at a rate of one ton per hour.
Ari-Zonolite vacated the facility in 1964 and moved all of its vermiculite processing equipment, but other businesses operated on site till 2002. Thus, individuals who worked in this Glendale job site were exposed to asbestos fibers in some fashion.
Asbestos also made its way to residences far from the Ari-Zonolite site on the clothing worn by employees and visitors to the processing plant. Hundreds, perhaps, thousands, of persons were put at risk of developing asbestosis, lung cancer, or mesothelioma, especially workers who were involved in processing vermiculite on a regular basis.
Job Sites and Government Facilities Known to Have Asbestos Contamination
Many industries and government agencies, including the Department of Defense and its armed branches, used asbestos and ACMs for various purposes. Though many products such as flooring tiles and insulation now use substitute materials, many public and private buildings built before 1980 still contain asbestos.
If left undisturbed, asbestos poses few health hazards in humans. However, any activity, such as renovation or repair work, that disturbs the fibrous materials can introduce asbestos into the environment.
The following list is a selection of work sites and public facilities where asbestos is known to have been used:
- Williams Air Force Base, Mesa
- Phelps-Dodge Copper Mine, Ajo
- Arizona Copper Company Ltd. Mine, Clifton
- Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, Tonopah
- Apache Generating Station, Cochise
- Navajo Generating Station, Paige
- Luke Air Force Base, Glendale
- Cholla Power Plant, Joseph City
- Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff
- Childs-Irving Hydroelectric Facilities, Fossil Creek
- United Verde Mine (“The Big Hole”), Jerome
- San Manuel Copper Mine, San Manuel
Mesothelioma and Other Asbestos Related Deaths in Arizona
Per the Environmental Working Group, the U.S. government recorded approximately 672 asbestos-related deaths in Arizona from 1979 to 2001. Of these, between 293 to 473 were caused by mesothelioma. Asbestosis accounts for the other 210 deaths caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos.
Arizona Asbestos Laws
Arizona has laws and regulations in place to help protect the public from the dangers of asbestos. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has mandated its own regulations, but the state also follows the regulations under Asbestos National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) Program. Current laws for asbestos abatement, handling, and removal in the state of Arizona include:
- Any facility, whether it be a public building or a residential home, must follow all NESHAP rules for regulation in the state of Arizona
- In Arizona, the date the building or home was constructed does not matter, even if it was constructed after the time period in which asbestos was no longer used. In other words, all homes and buildings are under NESHAP regulations.
- Before starting on any kind of project, including renovations and demolitions in which asbestos may be disrupted, a NESHAP slip must be obtained and submitted to the state.
- The only home not obligated to NESHAP standards in Arizona are mobile homes, and that is only if the mobile home is used for residential purposes only. Non-residential mobile homes are regulated under NESHAP.
For additional information and for any questions, contact the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality’s Air Quality Compliance Section, Field Services Unit at 602-771-2333.
Mesothelioma Medical Treatment in Arizona
Mayo Clinic Arizona: Backed by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Mayo Clinic Arizona treats all forms of cancer, with specialized focus on asbestos-related cancers. Along with its main campus in Scottsdale, two other campuses are available in Florida and Minnesota.
University of Arizona Cancer Center (UACC): Also backed by NCI, UACC offers two cancer centers in both Tucson and Orange Grove. Both campuses offer cutting-edge technology and an in-depth team of cancer scientists, physicians, and researchers.
Statute of Limitations in Arizona
In Arizona, a plaintiff must file an asbestos-related lawsuit within two years of diagnosis, according to the state’s statute of limitations. For wrongful death lawsuits, the plaintiff must file within two years of the victim’s death date.
Getting Legal Assistance in Arizona
If you suffer from mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, keep in mind that you may be entitled to significant compensation. Get our free Financial Compensation Packet for info on the top mesothelioma and asbestos lawyers in your area. If you need additional assistance, contact us toll-free at 800-793-4540.