Resources for Patients and their Families

Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma in Pennsylvania


If you have worked and lived in Pennsylvania for significant amount of time, there is a chance that you were exposed to asbestos at home or in the workplace. Prolonged exposure to asbestos can lead to serious health problems including malignant mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer. As a service to people who live in Pennsylvania, we have compiled the following information about asbestos and mesothelioma in Pennsylvania.

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

Asbestos and Mesothelioma Statistics in Pennsylvania

From 1999-2015, approximately 2,779 Pennsylvania residents died from mesothelioma

  • Pennsylvania has the second-highest mesothelioma death rate in the country at 13 people per million (Source: CDC)
  • At least 41 asbestos deposits or mines have been catalogued in Pennsylvania (Source: USGS)
  • The highest mesothelioma death rates occur in the metropolitan areas surrounding Philadelphia and Pittsburgh (Source: Journal of the American Medical Association)

Asbestos Use Across Pennsylvania Industries

Western Pennsylvania is a critical part of the Rust Belt, notable particularly for steel production in Pittsburgh, while the Philadelphia area was home to textile, locomotive, and shipping industries, among others.


Although it does not have much coastline, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania makes the most out of what it has. As one of the largest cities in the country and a major commercial center since it was founded, Philadelphia has access to the Atlantic Ocean through the Delaware River, making it a natural spot for shipbuilding companies to form, such as William Cramp and Sons, the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, and Hog Island Shipyard. Other cities had their own shipyards as well, such as the Pittsburgh Steamship Company in Pittsburgh, which has plenty of river access.


Pittsburgh is known as the Steel City, and for good reason, given that the steel industry fueled the city’s economic growth for much of the 20th century. Steelmaking involves the use of tremendous heat and flame at very high temperatures, and asbestos was used to protect both workers and equipment from being harmed by the extreme heat. Some of the steel mills and foundries that employed asbestos include the Aliquippa Steel Company, National Steel Company, the Pittsburgh Steel Foundry, and the Bethlehem Steel Mill.


During the height of the railroad expansion, Erie, PA, became a prominent city along the Rust Belt where locomotives were built. Companies like General Electric Transportation Systems and Pennsylvania Railroad produced their powerful engines, at the same time exposing many of the people involved in the labor-intensive work to the dangers of asbestos, which was used in both the locomotives themselves as well as the machines used to create them.


Although thousands of miles away from the vermiculite mines in Libby, MT, Pennsylvania still had to deal with the problem of asbestos that contaminated those materials. In particular, from 1948 until 1993, the W.R. Grace Corporation shipped almost 425,000 tons of vermiculite ore from Libby to its processing plant in New Castle, PA, where it was converted into insulation and gardening products. Similar processing operations were located in Philadelphia, Lancaster, and seven other Pennsylvania towns.

Pennsylvania Shipyards and Superfund Sites

Pennsylvania’s access to the Atlantic Ocean is primarily through the Delaware River in Philadelphia; however, in the northwestern part of the state, there is a patch of shoreline along the Erie Canal, giving the state access to the Great Lakes.

Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Company (Penn Shipbuilding)

Located in Chester, PA, about 15 miles south of Philadelphia on the Delaware River, the Penn Shipbuilding facility was built in 1917. For most of its operating period, the site served the oil and gas industry, and at one time was ranked as the largest shipyard in the U.S., producing about 40% of the tanker vessels used by the U.S. Navy during World War II. After the war, the shipyard continued building and repairing midsize and large ships, until it shut down in the late 1980s. Throughout most of that time, asbestos was used heavily in marine vessels, especially those used by the oil and gas industry, given the risk of shipboard fire.

Philadelphia Naval Yard

Possibly the oldest shipyard in the country, the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard opened in 1801. However, it wasn’t until the first World War that the yard’s operations expanded significantly to include a dry dock, chemical laboratory, barracks, hammerhead crane, and even a POW camp for German ship crews. The shipyard expanded again during World War II, during which it constructed a number of aircraft carriers, battleships, and destroyers for the U.S. Navy. While the shipyard continued into the 1990s, it eventually shut down after completing work on its capstone ship, the USS Kennedy.

Ambler Superfund Site

One of the sites to which W.R. Grace sent its vermiculite contaminated with asbestos was a facility in Ambler, PA, located about 16 miles north of Philadelphia. Because of its handling of these materials, the Ambler site became known as the “asbestos-manufacturing capital of the world,” and the town itself was called “the town that asbestos built.” The EPA added the Ambler Asbestos Superfund Site to its list in 1986, latter adding the nearby landfill at the BoRit Asbestos Site (also in Ambler) to the list as well.

Pennsylvania Cities with Known Asbestos Exposure

Learn more about asbestos exposure in the major towns and cities of Pennsylvania by clicking on the links below. If you worked at any of the jobsites highlighted on these pages, there is a possibility that you may have been exposed to asbestos which is known to cause the terminal cancer mesothelioma.

Asbestos Risks at Other Pennsylvania Work Sites

Workplace asbestos exposure is also a concern if one looks beyond the major cities and towns in Pennsylvania. 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.

Contact a Mesothelioma Cancer Center in Pennsylvania

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

1331 East Wyoming Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19124

333 Cottman Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19111

233 S 10th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

5115 Centre Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15232

51 N. 39th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

3401 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19140

Abramson Cancer Center
38th and Walnut Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19104

5150 Centre Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15232

3601 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Mesothelioma Doctors in Pennsylvania

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

Dr. Rodney J. Landreneau
Landreneau Thoracic Surgical Associates, P.C.
Kittanning, PA 16201

Dr. James D. Luketich
Mesothelioma Specialty Care Center of UPMC Cancer Centers
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Dr. Cherie P. Erkmen
Temple Lung Center
Temple University Hospital
Philadelphia, PA 19140

Dr. Larry R. Kaiser
Temple Lung Center
Temple University Hospital
Philadelphia, PA 19140

Dr. Steven M. Albelda
Penn Medicine/Abramson Cancer Center
228 Stemmler Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Dr. Joel  D. Cooper
University of Pennsylvania Health System
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Dr. Sunil Singhal
Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine – Abramson Cancer Center
Harron Lung Center
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Dr. David Bartlett
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
Pittsburgh, PA 15232

Dr. Neil A. Christie
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
Pittsburgh, PA 15232

Dr. James Pingpank
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
Pittsburgh, PA 15232

Filing an Asbestos Claim in Pennsylvania

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

Support for Pennsylvania Mesothelioma Caregivers

Asbestos-Related News in Pennsylvania

Asbestos Tiles Discovered at Temple University

Asbestos floor tiles were discovered and removed shortly thereafter at Temple University’s Center City building. Read more at Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.

Genetically Coded Gene Therapies Will Help Fight Cancer

The expected FDA approval of gene therapy for leukemia will kickstart a radically new type of cancer treatment. Read more at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.

Find Mesothelioma Doctors, Lawyers and Asbestos Exposure Sites Near You


EWG Action Fund. “W. R. Grace Hotspots in Pennsylvania.” Environmental Working Group, 1 June 2005. (accessed 23 August 2010).

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).

Krstev, S. et al. “Mortality Among Shipyard Coast Guard Workers: A Retrospective Cohort Study.” Occupational and Environmental Medicine 64 (October 2007): 651-8.

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