Asbestos-related illness and deaths continue to plague residents of Allegheny County and Western Pennsylvania at rates far higher than the national average and in higher numbers than was initially assessed. This, according to a new report from the Environmental Working Group Action Fund. The group's report shows that at least 14,216 people died from asbestos-related illnesses between 1999 and 2013 here in Pennsylvania. PA is considered one of six states that have asbestos-related illness and deaths at 50% - 100% above the national average. Those other states include Maine, West Virginia, Virginia, Delaware, and Montana.
In the last fifteen years, Allegheny County has averaged 107 asbestos-related deaths. That's the highest rate of any county in Pennsylvania. In addition, 28 of PA's 67 counties have asbestos-related death rates that are between four and thirteen times the national average. According to an analyst from the Environmental Working Group, "The death rates are high in areas of the country where people were exposed to industries that used asbestos." A map that goes along with the study shows higher mortality rates in areas that are part of the "Rust Belt" and areas where shipbuilding was prevalent in the 20th century.