Louisiana's environment has had a tough time in the last century. Hurricanes habitually wreck coastal communities, oil spills have laid waste to precious resources, and the chemical factories that lined the Mississippi River also filled its delta with dangerous substances.
After your years of employment at the Avondale shipyards or another industry where you faced exposure to asbestos, you may be like many who are suffering from mesothelioma, lung cancer or another asbestos-related illness. Researchers have widely accepted the link between asbestos and certain cancers, which is why it may seem strange to you that the U.S. has not banned asbestos altogether.
It comes as a relief to doctors, scientists and workers of many kinds that asbestos is off the market. The natural crystalline fiber was prized for centuries as protection against fire, but the material has been correlated to mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer in the lining around thoracic organs, for the last few decades.
From the plains north of Baton Rouge to the Mississippi River Delta, the Bayou State holds outsized risks to the respiratory systems of its citizens. Louisiana's rates of lung cancer incidence are towards the top of U.S. state rankings. Many blame the chemical industry that once thrived on inland parts of the Mississippi River Valley and left a legacy of pollution still being managed.