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Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure in California


Prolonged exposure to asbestos can lead to serious health problems including pleural mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer. If you have lived and worked in California for significant amount of time, there is a chance that you were exposed to asbestos at home or in the workplace. For your convenience, we have compiled information about asbestos and mesothelioma in the state of California.

Below you will find recent statistics about mesothelioma and asbestos exposure in California. We have also included descriptions of industries and lists of cities, towns and specific job sites in California where asbestos exposure has occurred. Local California mesothelioma doctors and treatment centers are also listed. Finally we include recent news articles about asbestos and mesothelioma in California.

California Mesothelioma and Asbestos Statistics

From 1999-2015, 4,295 California residents died from mesothelioma, making California the state with the highest number of mesothelioma deaths

  • California has a high mesothelioma death rate, with about 11 per million each year (Source: CDC)
  • Two California counties, Yuba and Siskiyou, were ranked in the 50 counties in the U.S. with the highest mesothelioma death rates, with rates of about 34 million and 31 million (Source: CDC)
  • Naturally occurring asbestos has been found in 45 out of California’s 58 counties (Source: United States Geological Survey)

Asbestos Use in California Work Environments

In addition to all of the naturally occurring asbestos in California, the deadly material has been used in jobsites all over the state.


As the state with the third longest coastline in the country, California has 20 major shipyards, where asbestos was used as insulation in ship construction and repair. One of these is the San Diego Naval Base, which is the primary port for the entire Pacific Fleet of the U.S. Navy.

Oil Industry:

According to California Energy Commission, there are 30 offshore oil platforms, 21 oil refineries, and nearly 50 refined oil product terminals within the state, though some of these may longer be operational. Many of these oil industry jobsites have been in operation since the 1950s or earlier, with asbestos used heavily throughout the oil drilling and delivery process.

Power Plants:

Given the size of the state, California has a large number of power plants, most fueled by gas – but there are also several coal, hydroelectric, and nuclear plants, as well as power generation facilities with newer technologies such as wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass. Power plants like the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station have traditionally used blue crocidolite asbestos to insulate from heat and electricity created by the power generation process.


More than 240 asbestos deposits have been identified in California, including some of the largest known asbestos sites in the world. A large number of these, like the John D. Hoff Mine and the Atlas Asbestos Company, were in operation for decades. In addition, asbestos has been found in other California mines for natural resources like coal, talc, and even precious metals such as gold and copper.

California Shipyards and Superfund Sites

Public, private, and military shipyards have populated the long shores of California since it first became a state. Most of these California shipyards are situated near the populated areas of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.

Bethlehem Steel Shipyard (San Francisco)

One of the oldest shipyards in the state, the Bethlehem Steel Shipyard was founded in 1849 as the Union Brass and Iron Works. Between the two World Wars, the yard became a major warship construction site on the West Coast, eventually shifting to ship repair after World War II. Due to the high number of ships built and repaired at the facility, many workers over the years were exposed to asbestos.

Naval Base San Diego (North Island Shipyard)

Initially established in 1910, this shipyard came under the control of the U.S. Navy during World War I, eventually going on to become the main port for aircraft carriers in the Pacific Fleet. Given the large size of the military vessels cared for at the facility, in addition to the many aircraft housed on them, workers at the naval shipyard in San Diego were exposed to asbestos for decades. The naval base eventually grew to become one of the largest bases operated by the U.S. Navy, and it is still in operation today.

Long Beach Naval Shipyard (Terminal Island)

Having opened in 1940, the Long Beach Naval Shipyard on Terminal Island, near Los Angeles, remained in operation for 57 years. Long Beach was one of the subjects of an October 1979 Government Accountability Office report that stated, “Dust samples taken by the industrial hygienist aboard two ships contained asbestos dust, indicating that required cleanup had not been done properly.” Given the large amount of asbestos used in naval ships during the shipyard’s operational period, many individuals were exposed while working on the vessels docked there.

San Francisco Bay Naval Shipyard (Mare Island and Hunter’s Point)

The U.S. Navy’s shipyard in San Francisco was created when two other shipyards – the Hunter’s Point Naval Shipyard and the Mare Island Naval Shipyard – combined operations in 1965. Although combined operations ceased in 1970, Hunter’s Point continued for another four years, while Mare Island remained a working naval base through 1996. Both sites used asbestos heavily throughout their separate and combined operating periods, especially in the overhauling of ships, which often required asbestos-containing materials such as insulation, gaskets, and other items. Furthermore, a landfill maintained on Mare Island from 1940 to 1989 became a dumping ground for many dangerous toxins, including asbestos.

California Cities with Asbestos Problems

Provided below is a list of cities in the state of California where asbestos use in the workplace is known to have occurred. Click on a city below to see more detailed information about the specific job sites where asbestos exposure occurred.

Asbestos Exposure at Smaller California Sites

Workplace asbestos exposure is also a concern if one looks beyond the major cities and towns in California. Select a town below to see the list of its job sites known to have exposed workers to asbestos. Asbestos exposure at any one of the job sites revealed could have placed a worker at risk to develop mesothelioma cancer and other asbestos-related diseases.

Locate Mesothelioma Cancer Centers in California

For your convenience, we present below a list of mesothelioma cancer centers that are located in the state of California. Please click on a cancer center link to obtain more detailed information about the resources available.

8700 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048

1500 East Duarte Road
Duarte, CA 91010

10010 North Torrey Pines Road
La Jolla, CA 92037

St. Joseph Hospital of Orange
1100 West Stewart Drive
Orange, CA 92868

Stanford Cancer Center
875 Blake Wilbur Drive
Stanford, CA 94305

10901 North Torrey Pines Road
La Jolla, CA 92037

Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
1600 Divisadero Street
San Francisco, CA 94115

Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
101 The City Drive South
Orange, CA 92868

Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Care Center
200 UCLA Medical Plaza, Suite 120
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Moores Cancer Center
3855 Health Sciences Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093

505 Parnassus Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94143

1441 Eastlake Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90033

Mesothelioma Doctors in California

For your convenience, we present below a list of mesothelioma doctors that are located and practice in the state of California. Please click on a doctor link to obtain more information about their background, areas of expertise, professional affiliations, office locations and contact information.

Dr. Michael Y. Chang
Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Dr. W. Charles Conway, II
Ridley-Tree Cancer Center
Santa Barbara, CA 93105

Dr. Mark R. Cullen
Stanford School of Medicine
Stanford, CA 94305

Dr. Mark W. Lischner
Pulmonary Medicine Associates
Roseville, CA 95661

Dr. Ravi Salgia
City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center
Duarte, CA 91010

Dr. David M. Jablons
UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
San Francisco, CA 94143

Dr. Thierry Marie Jahan
UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
San Francisco, CA 94143

Dr. Robert Brian Cameron
University of California Los Angeles Medical Center
Los Angeles, CA 90024

Dr. Joel M. Baumgartner
University of California San Diego Cancer Center
Moores Cancer Center
La Jolla, CA 92093

Limited Time to File a Mesothelioma Suit

Don’t lose your right to file a mesothelioma claim. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and were exposed to asbestos in California, you may be entitled to compensation. You must file your claim within the appropriate statute of limitations for the state of California.

Help for California Mesothelioma Patients

Asbestos-Related News in California

Asbestos Concerns Linger After California Wildfires

Shutting down a mobile home park in Sonoma is just the beginning of a multitude of asbestos concerns in Northern California. Read more at

Asbestos Possible in California Drinking Water Post-Wildfires

Agencies in Sonoma and Marin counties are trying to prevent asbestos and other toxins from affecting drinking water. Read more at

Find Mesothelioma Doctors, Lawyers and Asbestos Exposure Sites Near You


Geological Research, Analyses and Services Programs. "Naturally Occurring Asbestos Locations in the Contiguous U.S. and Alaska." Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 25 May 2007. (accessed 23 August 2010).

Patterson, Randall. "Not In Their Back Yard." Mother Jones, May/June 2007.

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