Asbestos Statistics

Asbestos is a fiber-like mineral that has been used in thousands of products throughout history like building materials, auto parts, and much more. However, asbestos is now a known threat to public health, causing cancers like mesothelioma and other deadly illnesses. Our team has compiled notable asbestos statistics below to help people understand the dangers and how to get help.

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Is Mesothelioma Only Caused by Asbestos?

Yes. Asbestos is the only known cause of malignant mesothelioma. However, there are factors that increase a person’s risk for mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma risk factors include:

  • Age (66% of patients are aged 65+)
  • Gender (most common in males)
  • Race (most common in white people)
  • Smoking
  • Work history

Further, a person doesn’t have to be in direct contact with asbestos to be put at risk of mesothelioma. Some victims are exposed from being around partners, spouses, or family members who bring home stray asbestos fibers on their clothing, hair, and/or skin.

What Type of Asbestos Causes Mesothelioma?

All types of asbestos cause mesothelioma. There are six overall types of asbestos that can be broken into two basic groups: amphibole and serpentine.

  • The amphibole group is made up of actinolite, amosite, anthophyllite, crocidolite, and tremolite asbestos. These fibers are straight and sharp, according to Penn Medicine.
  • The serpentine group is made up of just chrysotile asbestos. Chrysotile asbestos fibers are curly and flexible.

Chrysotile is the type of asbestos that has been most heavily used in the past. While Penn Medicine notes that amphibole fibers are slightly easier to inhale due to their straight shape, you can get mesothelioma from exposure to any form of asbestos fiber.

Who Develops Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma typically affects white men since women and people of color usually didn’t work in jobs where they’d often be exposed to asbestos.

Further, mesothelioma has a latency period (time between exposure and symptoms) of 10-50 years. Thus, most who develop this cancer are aged 65 or older.

Of the four types of mesothelioma (pleural, peritoneal, pericardial, and testicular), pleural mesothelioma makes up about 75% of mesothelioma cases and affects 2% to 10% of people exposed to asbestos.

In total, the United States alone sees 2,500 to 3,000 new mesothelioma cases each year.

Which Jobs Have the Highest Risk of Asbestos Exposure?

While anyone exposed to asbestos can develop mesothelioma, those at greatest risk worked with or around this dangerous substance at their jobs. The World Health Organization (WHO) notes that about 50% of all job-related cancer deaths are linked to asbestos exposure.

Jobs with a high risk of asbestos exposure include:

  • Construction work: Many construction products (including cement, insulation, paint, and tiles) used asbestos. The Cleveland Clinic notes that any building constructed before the 1970s could have been made with asbestos products. Construction workers could have inhaled or swallowed stray fibers during their work.
  • Military service: All branches of the U.S. military used asbestos from the 1930s to the early 1980s, putting veterans at risk of mesothelioma. Those who served in the U.S. Navy are at the highest risk as a government mandate required the use of asbestos on these vessels.
  • Shipyard work: Shipyard workers had to remove damaged asbestos parts from ships and install new ones. Either activity could put them at risk of inhaling or swallowing stray asbestos fibers.

In fact, 33% of mesothelioma cases involve those who served in the U.S. Navy or in shipyards due to widespread asbestos use aboard ships.

Over one million American workers and 125 million around the globe are still at risk for occupational asbestos exposure today.

There are many other jobs that exposed people to asbestos that aren’t listed above. Connect with our team to find out if a job you worked at put you in danger. Call (866) 447-8466 now.

What Lung Disease Is Caused by Asbestos?

Besides mesothelioma (which often develops the lining of the lungs), asbestos exposure can cause several diseases that affect the lungs themselves. Two of the most notable asbestos-related diseases are lung cancer and asbestosis.

  • Asbestos-related lung cancer develops after asbestos fibers lodge themselves in the lungs and cause long-term damage. It has the same symptoms (such as a chronic cough, chest pain, and weight loss) and treatment options as lung cancer not caused by asbestos. The risk of lung cancer greatly increases in smokers who were exposed to asbestos.
  • Asbestosis is a respiratory disease that occurs when asbestos fibers scar lung tissue and cause symptoms like a dry cough, shortness of breath, and ‘clubbing’ of the fingers and toes. It is not cancer. Roughly 50% of those exposed to asbestos at their job will develop asbestosis, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

Symptoms of asbestos lung cancer and asbestosis can take decades to appear after initial exposure, and both conditions can be deadly without treatment. Because of this, those exposed to asbestos should see a doctor immediately if they develop any possible symptoms.

Contact our team today to see if your asbestos-related disease qualifies for financial compensation that can help you afford medical care and treatment.

How Many Deaths Are Caused by Asbestos?

Asbestos is responsible for around 12,000 to 15,000 deaths in the United States per year, making it the leading work-related cause of death in the country.

Globally, the incidence of asbestos-related deaths ranges from 90,000 to 255,000 each year.
  • The number of asbestosis deaths ranges from 600 to over 1,000 each year. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, just under 6,300 Americans died of asbestosis between 1999 and 2010.
  • Mesothelioma killed roughly 2,650 people per year between 1999 and 2013, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
  • In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recorded 2,442 mesothelioma deaths in the U.S. 1,843 (roughly 75%) of the people who died were men.
  • Globally, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) found that over 26,000 people died from mesothelioma in 2020.

Who Pays for Asbestos Claims?

Asbestos diseases can be devastating for victims and their families, but there is some good news: You may be able to file a claim to get compensation.

The following may pay the compensation awarded in asbestos claims: 

  • Makers of asbestos-based products: Major corporations used asbestos between the 1930s and early 1980s without disclosing the risks. You may be able to file a legal claim against these companies to pursue compensation. Mesothelioma lawsuits often award millions of dollars.
  • Asbestos trust funds: Bankrupt companies can’t be sued, but many have set aside money in trust funds for the purpose of paying out claims. There are currently more than 65 asbestos trust funds that contain an estimated total of over $30 billion.

Our team can connect you with skilled mesothelioma attorneys who can help you get as much money as possible from an asbestos claim. For the best results, get started right now with our team’s help.

What Is the Average Settlement for Asbestos Cases?

A mesothelioma settlement is a legal agreement that resolves a claim without going to court. Asbestos case settlement amounts vary.

If a patient has mesothelioma, the average asbestos settlement is $1 million. You could receive more or less than this amount depending on the unique circumstances in your case, though.

In rare instances, some asbestos and mesothelioma cases won’t reach a settlement and may go to trial. The average mesothelioma trial verdict awards between $5 million to $11.4 million. However, some trials may rule in favor of the asbestos companies, which means there’s a risk of not getting any money.

Factors like when you file, which companies are sued, and how the claim resolves all affect how much you may receive from a mesothelioma settlement.

How Are Asbestos Cases Paid Out?

Many times, asbestos cases are resolved out of court and paid via check or wire transfer. There may be more than one defendant that is held responsible, in which case the victim may receive multiple payments over time, possibly in different forms.

How Do I File an Asbestos Claim? partners with experienced asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers across the country who may be able to help you file a claim.

Remember, asbestos claims for mesothelioma award $1 million on average, and there are no upfront or out-of-pocket costs to work with the attorneys in our network. They only receive compensation if you do.

If you or a loved one is suffering from an asbestos-related illness, don’t wait to file a claim. Get started right now with a free case review. Icon

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  1. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. (2014, August 26). Asbestos toxicity: What respiratory conditions are associated with asbestos? Retrieved July 18, 2022, from
  2. American Cancer Society. (n.d.). Risk factors for malignant mesothelioma. Retrieved July 18, 2022, from
  3. Asbestos Statistics and Information. (n.d.). Asbestos statistics and information. Retrieved July 18, 2022, from
  4. Asbestos: Elimination of asbestos-related diseases. (n.d.). Retrieved July 18, 2022, from
  5. Bang, K., Mazurek, J., Wood, J., & Hendricks, S. (2014, January). Diseases attributable to asbestos exposure: Years of potential life lost, United States, 1999-2010. Retrieved July 18, 2022, from
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). USCS data visualizations – CDC. Retrieved July 18, 2022, from
  7. Cleveland Clinic. (2021, August 14). Asbestos Still Lurks in Older Buildings: Are Your Lungs at Risk? Retrieved July 18, 2022, from
  8. Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). Https:// Retrieved July 18, 2022, from
  9. Environmental Working Group. (n.d.). Asbestos kills 12,000-15,000 people per year in the U.S: Asbestos nation – EWG action fund. Retrieved July 18, 2022, from
  10. Furuya, S., Chimed-Ochir, O., Takahashi, K., David, A., & Takala, J. (2018, May 16). Global asbestos disaster. Retrieved July 18, 2022, from
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