Top 5 Takeaways

  1. Rising Number of Deaths: The number of mesothelioma deaths among women increased from 489 in 1999 to 614 in 2020, although the age-adjusted death rate per million women slightly decreased.
  2. Industry Impact: Significant numbers of mesothelioma deaths among women were linked to the health care and social assistance industry and homemaker occupations.
  3. Geographical Variation: The highest state mesothelioma death rates were observed in states associated with shipbuilding and asbestos mining industries like Louisiana, Maine, and Montana.
  4. Asbestos Exposure: Continued exposure to asbestos, despite reduced usage, poses risks, particularly through indirect pathways like family members working in asbestos-related industries.
  5. Prevention Needs: The report emphasizes the necessity of maintaining efforts to limit asbestos exposure to prevent future cases of mesothelioma among women.

Original Article Author and Citation

Corresponding Author

Jacek M. Mazurek,

Suggested Citation

Mazurek JM, Blackley DJ, Weissman DN. Malignant Mesothelioma Mortality in Women — United States, 1999–2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:645–649. DOI: .


This MMWR article discusses the significant but subtly changing patterns of malignant mesothelioma mortality among women in the U.S. from 1999 to 2020. Despite a slight decline in age-adjusted death rates, the absolute number of deaths has increased, highlighting ongoing public health concerns regarding asbestos exposure.


The analysis utilized Multiple Cause of Death records from the National Vital Statistics System spanning 1999–2020. It employed tools like the Joinpoint Regression Program to assess mortality trends and mapped death rates using GIS software.


The report details the industries and occupations where women mesothelioma deaths are most prevalent, with a notable proportion in non-industrial roles such as homemakers, indicating domestic and secondary asbestos exposure.


Efforts to reduce asbestos exposure must continue, and public health strategies should include protections for non-traditional occupational roles and familial exposure pathways.


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