Asbestos Exposure in Wyoming
Typically, most people don’t consider their level of interaction with contaminated materials at home, work, or school. However, naturally-occurring minerals like asbestos may be found throughout a majority of structures built over forty years ago. As such, Wyoming holds countless buildings and homes contaminated with the toxic fiber. Furthermore, the material can be found in landfills across the state. With a number of potential exposure sources, residents may be at risk of developing mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma, in addition to other carcinogen-related diseases, is generally addressed by a cancer care team using chemotherapy, surgery, and/or immunotherapy treatment. Though rare, receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis is often fatal. Between 1999 and 2013, 549 Wyoming residents passed early due to an asbestos-related disease. Of the total, 104 were caused specifically be mesothelioma, 31 by asbestosis, and 416 by other lung cancer. Within the state, Natrona, Laramie, and Sweetwater counties lead in the rates of related deaths. Even compared to most neighboring states, Wyoming’s most-affected counties have higher rates of asbestos-related death than Idaho, Colorado, and the Dakota’s. Among all states, the Equality State ranks third for the age-adjusted mortality rate of malignant mesothelioma.
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High-Risk Areas for Asbestos Exposure
Like other mountainous areas in the region, Wyoming has a variety of naturally-occurring asbestos deposits and old, prospective mines. Too, nearby sites like Libby, Montana, are known for their prolific asbestos production spanning most of the twentieth century. In those areas, rates of contamination-related disease have continued to climb in recent decades.
Additionally, many residents risk exposure from occupational sources. For many years, construction workers and builders of all types came into contact with the fiber in its friable (i.e., brittle, crumbled) form. The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality includes the following among friable asbestos materials:
- Artificial snow
- Spackle and joint patching material
- Thermal insulation
- Preformed pipe covering
- Preformed block insulation
- Pipeline wrap
- Millboard and rollboard
- Commercial insulating papers
Environmental Exposure in Wyoming
Due to the demolition activities of others, residents of Wyoming may become exposed to asbestos through environmental means. Contamination via an individual’s environment can come from demolished roofing near your home, flooring at work, or boiler insulation material in schools. For residents of Wyoming, environmental asbestos exposure has been a major cause of concern in recent years.
In Evanston, a city in Uinta County, asbestos was found in the Agriculture Extension Office, necessitating its shutdown throughout abatement activities. Prior to 2020, toxic fibers were found in the flooring but the entirety of contaminated material was encapsulated upon discovery. Too, the Senior Center in Evanston has asbestos beneath the floors. The city plans to replace the contaminated flooring in approximately ten years.
In downtown Cheyenne, the carcinogen was discovered in six of 11 samples taken from construction at a dentist’s office. Now, the dentist who owns the office faces federal negligence charges. The office, New Image Dental, once operated as the Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities offices. In Rawlins, two schools (Pershing and Mountain View Elementary) were forced to close to undergo abatement and renovation. Commonly, spaces constructed by the government for public use contain asbestos and require a professional inspection prior to further construction.
Other sources of environmental exposure in the state include its many landfills containing asbestos. Below is a list provided by the Environmental Protection Agency of known asbestos landfills in Wyoming.
|Campbell County Bail||Gillette, WY|
|Casper #2 Landfill||Casper, WY|
|Casper Bail Fill||Casper, WY|
|Fremont County-Little Sand Draw||Lander, WY|
|Laramie County Landfill||Cheyenne, WY|
|Marbleton/Big Piney Landfill||Big Piney, WY|
|Rock River||Rock River, WY|
|Sheridan Landfill||Sheridan, WY|
|Sweetwater County-Rock Springs||Rock Springs, WY|
|Temporary Storage for Coastal||Cheyenne, WY|
|Washakie Co-SWDD-Worland #2||Worland, WY|
Wyoming Asbestos Regulation
Unlike most surrounding states, Wyoming doesn’t maintain a registration or licensing program for those in asbestos abatement and removal. Subsequently, regulation by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) doesn’t extend to private residences (only structures being made into residential spaces). Additionally, there is no state list of certified removal experts for residents to turn to for home renovation. The DEQ recommends residents visit abatement pages for surrounding states with certification programs and licensed professionals, including Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Montana.
To report suspected incidences of contamination or to call for an inspection, contact Karin Schubert, DEQ/AQD Asbestos Inspector.
- 200 W 17th Street, 3rd Floor
- Cheyenne, WY 82002
- Office: 307-777-7584
- Fax: 307-777-6937
- Cell: 307-275-5749
- Email: [email protected]
Mesothelioma Treatment in Wyoming
For patients diagnosed with mesothelioma seeking treatment in the state, adequate care with sufficient treatment options can be scarce. To date, there are no National Cancer Institute-designated treatment centers in the state and much of the surrounding area. Nearby cancer centers in neighboring states include:
University of Colorado Cancer Center
- Comprehensive Cancer Center
- 13001 East 17th Place
- Aurora, Colorado 80045
- Adult Cancer Care: (720) 848-0300
- Pediatric Cancer Care: (720) 777-6688
Huntsman Cancer Institute
- Comprehensive Cancer Center
- University of Utah
- 2000 Circle of Hope
- Salt Lake City, Utah 84112
- Local: (801) 585-0303
- HCI Main: 1-877-585-0303