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Asbestos-related death rates in South Dakota are relatively low when compared to other states. There are a few reasons for the low rate, including the sparse population and the fact that the state’s industries have focused mainly on ranching and agriculture. Still, several hundred people in South Dakota have fallen victim to asbestos from natural deposits and mining, construction, military bases, and industrial jobs.
If you have been a victim of asbestos exposure and developed mesothelioma, asbestosis, or lung cancer, you need a South Dakota mesothelioma lawyer. You can seek compensation through a settlement agreement, an asbestos trust fund, or a court trial if you were negligently exposed to asbestos. An experienced lawyer can help you navigate the complicated system so you can get the compensation you need and deserve.
Asbestos in South Dakota
A common natural mineral, asbestos is a set of minerals that were used for thousands of years. Asbestos has long been used in many industries because it is abundant, inexpensive, and can resist fire, heat, electricity, and many chemicals. It can also add strength to materials.
During the industrial boom of the 20th century, asbestos was used in large quantities until the awareness of its adverse health effects grew. As a result, federal regulations limiting its use were enacted in the 1970s. Unfortunately, friable asbestos can become lodged in the body and cause damage over time. For some, this damage leads to mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis, a kind of scarring of the lungs.
South Dakota’s exposure rates have been low compared to other states due to the sparse population and minimal industry. However, western South Dakota has several natural deposits of asbestos and a similar mineral, called erionite. In addition to these natural deposits, South Dakota’s construction industry once used asbestos across the state, including military installments.
Natural Asbestos and Erionite
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, South Dakota has no former asbestos mines. However, the state does have former prospects and several natural asbestos deposits on its western edge. Although they were never mined, these naturally-occurring asbestos deposits pose a risk to residents. If these deposits are disturbed during roadbuilding or construction, the soil and air in the area can be dangerously contaminated with asbestos fibers.
There is another mineral in western South Dakota that poses a risk for residents. Erionite is a mineral similar to asbestos and is abundant in the region. Gravel and dirt from the erionite-rich region have been used to build roads, parking lots, and other modern conveniences. Every time a car drives down a gravel road, it can potentially stir up fibers and put people in harm’s way. The discovery of erionite in the region and its potential health effects is recent. How it could impact area residents remains to be seen.
Buildings and Military Bases
One of the main sources of asbestos exposure in South Dakota are older buildings, including those on military bases. Before the 1970s, the construction industry commonly used asbestos in insulation, roofing, flooring, ceiling materials, adhesives, and many other building components. Now, buildings from that period pose a risk to residents. If asbestos deteriorates or becomes damaged, its tiny fibers can become airborne, exposing residents or anyone in the area.
Military buildings are one source of exposure for military personnel and civilians working on site. Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, South Dakota, is currently managing extensive asbestos all over the base. Buildings, vehicles, and equipment all contain asbestos. In 1990, the base was listed by the Environmental Protection Agency as a top-priority Superfund.
Other South Dakota Sites with Asbestos
In addition to older buildings and areas with natural asbestos and erionite deposits, there are other sources of asbestos in South Dakota. These facilities are known to have contained asbestos and put people at risk of harmful exposure:
- Aberdeen Light and Power Company, Aberdeen
- Consolidation Coal Company, Rapid City
- Rapid City Air Force Base, Rapid City
- South Dakota Cement Plant, Rapid City
- Sioux Falls Light and Power Company, Sioux Falls
- Eureka Milling Company, Sioux Falls
- Rapid City Landfill, Rapid City
South Dakota Asbestos Laws
In South Dakota, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources plays an important role in protecting residents from asbestos. This government department manages and administers federal and state regulations regarding asbestos, its use, and disposal. For example, asbestos construction projects require advance written notification. The department also enforces state-level emission limits on asbestos and ensures all contractors working with asbestos are properly certified.
Statute of Limitations
If you receive a diagnosis of mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, you have the opportunity to seek justice. If you believe a company was negligent in your exposure, you can file a lawsuit. However, South Dakota has a statute of limitations. You have three years from the time of diagnosis to file your lawsuit and seek damages. Likewise, if you have lost a loved one to one of these diseases, you have three years from the time of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Finding South Dakota Mesothelioma Lawyers
South Dakota mesothelioma lawyers are important players, helping residents find justice after asbestos exposure. If you have been exposed and became sick as a result, contact one of these experienced lawyers. A good legal team will guide you through the complicated system, ensuring you get the best possible chance for compensation. Find your lawyer by looking for legal teams that have worked with other victims of asbestos exposure and won settlements.
Page Written by Rod De Llano, Esquire
Rod De Llano was born and raised in Laredo, Texas. He graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in Economics, and earned a law degree from the University of Texas. After working for an international law firm for several years, Rod formed a law firm dedicated to representing persons injured by exposure to asbestos products. For over 20 years, Rod has fought for persons diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. His clients have recovered over $1 billion over the years.