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In Wisconsin, mesothelioma lawyers are hard at work helping residents who were exposed to asbestos find justice. Between 1999 and 2013, more than 5,000 Wisconsinites died as a result of an asbestos-related illness such as lung cancer, asbestosis, or most often, mesothelioma.
Asbestos exposure typically occurs in the workplace. In Wisconsin, the paper industry, manufacturing, metalworking, power plants, and other industries have contributed to the exposure and illness of workers throughout the state. In addition, although natural asbestos deposits in northern Wisconsin were never mined, they may have caused exposure to local residents.
Asbestos in Wisconsin
Asbestos is a natural mineral comprised of sharp tiny fibers that can be easily inhaled or ingested. Once these fibers enter the body, they can lodge in tissues and cause damage over time. As a result of this damage, some people develop cancers like mesothelioma or lung cancer. In Wisconsin, thousands of people have died from asbestos-related illnesses, which include cancer as well as asbestosis, a scarring of the lungs.
Wisconsin ranks high among states for asbestos-related deaths, likely due to the state’s industrial economy. Most asbestos exposure occurs on the job, especially in industrial settings. In Wisconsin, the paper industry has played an important role in the economy. However, urban areas like Milwaukee have been home to a variety of industrial jobs, all of which contributed to asbestos exposure in workers. Additionally, older buildings continue to be a threat to residents because of once common asbestos use in the construction industry.
Wisconsin also has natural asbestos deposits along the border with the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, including one former mine prospect. Even though this prospect was never mined, natural deposits always pose some danger. If disturbed, these deposits can release asbestos fibers and contaminate area soil, water, and air.
Paper Mills in Wisconsin
Wisconsin’s paper industry has been going strong since the late 1800s. Extensive forested areas in the state make it an ideal location for manufacturing paper products. At one time, the paper industry used asbestos in its buildings, machinery, and materials. For decades, workers in this industry were exposed to asbestos without realizing they were at risk of getting sick.
Wisconsin was home to industrial facilities that processed vermiculite. Vermiculite is a mineral that can be made into insulation and other products. Although vermiculite is harmless, it is often found in ground deposits along with asbestos. In Libby, Montana, the W.R. Grace mine operated for decades. This mine produced vermiculite that it them shipped to processing facilities around the country. Wisconsin was home to more than one of these facilities. Vermiculite from Libby was contaminated with asbestos, but this was not discovered until it had operated for years. Operations at the Libby mine halted in 1990.
In Wisconsin, the company Koos received shipments of Libby vermiculite between 1965 and 1995. Workers in at least two facilities, in Kenosha and in Racine, were likely exposed to asbestos for years. Additionally, local residents and consumers who used products made in these facilities were also put at risk of exposure. More recently, the Environmental Protection Agency visited the sites and found asbestos levels were low or undetectable. As a result, the EPA declared them safe.
Other Sites with Known Asbestos
Wisconsin is a highly industrialized state with factory and plant jobs making up a significant part of the economy. This explains why there have been so many asbestos-related casualties in the state. Vermiculite and paper mills can account for a significant proportion of exposure, but there are many other facilities also responsible. Some known sites that likely caused asbestos exposure are:
- Atlantic Refining Company, Milwaukee
- International Paper Company, Fond du Lac
- Illinois Steel Company, Milwaukee
- Georgia-Pacific Corporation, Green Bay
- Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, Wasau
- Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company, Appleton
- University of Wisconsin, Madison
- Consolidated Papers, Inc., Wisconsin Rapids
- Wisconsin Power and Light Company
- Ocanto Falls Tissue, Inc.
- Kimberly-Clark Corporation
Wisconsin Asbestos Laws
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for administering and enforcing regulations relating to asbestos. In Wisconsin, contractors must notify the department in advance of any project related to asbestos. Also, anyone who works with asbestos must be certified by the state. Schools and other public buildings are required to have asbestos management plans on file. They must also have procedures for handling exposed asbestos.
Cancer and Mesothelioma Care in Wisconsin
Having an aggressive cancer like mesothelioma means facing a tough medical battle. You need the best medical team to help fight this devastating disease. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you will need care from a top cancer center. In Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center in Madison is a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. These centers are designated as such for having the most advanced treatments, top-notch research, and experts on staff.
Statute of Limitations
Wisconsin has statutes of limitation on filing lawsuits related to asbestos illnesses. If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, you have just three years from diagnosis to initiate legal action. Similarly, you have just three years from the time of death of a loved one to file a wrongful death lawsuit and seek justice on their behalf.
Find a Wisconsin Mesothelioma Lawyer
When you receive a devastating diagnosis of mesothelioma or lung cancer, you may feel betrayed and outraged. You may want justice for what was done to you. If so, you need a Wisconsin mesothelioma lawyer to an advocate and guide you through the process. With a professional on your side, you have a good chance of getting justice and the compensation you need.
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.