Wisconsin ranks very high for diseases caused by asbestos exposure: More than 60 deaths per year in this state are caused by mesothelioma. The majority of the fatalities occur around Milwaukee, given that it has such a high number of paper manufacturing and metal industries. Cities that also have had a high number of mesothelioma deaths are Kenosha, Waukesha, Madison and Green Bay.
Our asbestos attorneys in Wisconsin are available to investigate potential asbestos lawsuits on behalf of current and former workers and residents in Wisconsin who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-caused cancers. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, we may be able to help you and your family get the compensation you need and deserve. To learn more about your right to financial compensation, please contact us today.
History of Asbestos Exposure in Wisconsin
Although there are no naturally occurring asbestos deposits in Wisconsin, the toxic mineral has still been responsible for countless numbers of deaths and serious illnesses in the state. This is due primarily to the fact that many asbestos-containing products have been shipped into the state.
The majority of asbestos-laden products that have made their way into Wisconsin are materials used in the following industries:
- Paper mills
- Construction industry
- Power plants
Asbestos was considered an ideal material for the listed industries because of its strength and resistance to heat and friction. Because it is a naturally-occurring mineral, it was also easy and relatively cheap to get, which made it even more attractive to Wisconsin industry leaders.
Consumer Exposure to Asbestos in Wisconsin
Not just workers have been exposed to deadly asbestos containing materials in this state. As early as the 1890s, some consumers near the Malleable Iron Range Company, which made heating appliances, were exposed to asbestos.
Also, in the 1950s, Hankscraft Company sold baby bottle warmers that were lined with asbestos. Asbestos in many industrial and consumer contexts was used here as late as the 1970s. Note that many buildings constructed before 1980 also may contain asbestos in Wisconsin.
Paper and Pulp Mills and Asbestos in Wisconsin
Two of the biggest employers in WI are Kimberly Clark and Georgia Pacific. Many people do not know this, but this state’s production of paper products is greater than WA and OR. In the past, great amounts of asbestos-containing materials were used in paper mills in the drying felts and adhesives used in paper production. The drying felts had to be replaced often, and asbestos fibers often were introduced into the environment.
Further, exposure to asbestos fibers occurred in other ways in these mills because many of the buildings were built in the 1950s and 1960s, when use of asbestos in building was rampant. Some of the areas where asbestos was used in paper mill construction included:
- Floor/ceiling tiles
Dangers of Asbestos Exposure
The asbestos that was brought into the state was considered an ideal material; however, its harmful effects were discovered as workers who handled the mineral began to show symptoms of severe respiratory illnesses such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.
Symptoms of mesothelioma can take up to 50 years to develop, so many workers who were exposed years ago are just now being diagnosed. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma (mesothelioma of the chest) include:
- Pain the chest or lower back
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent cough
- Excessive sweating
- Weight loss
- Difficulty swallowing
These symptoms are similar to those of other respiratory illnesses, so mesothelioma is often misdiagnosed until it has progressed into an advanced stage.
Mesothelioma Statistics in Wisconsin
In 20 years prior to the 2000 Census, 725 asbestos deaths were noted in Wisconsin. The majority were mesothelioma cases. Milwaukee is a particularly deadly area, with at least 144 asbestos deaths.
Illegal Asbestos Removal in Wisconsin
In 1999, three men were sent to prison for a conspiracy to break health and labor laws in WI. Specifically, the men hired 20 workers to illegally remove asbestos in Marshfield WI. Twelve of these men were homeless in TN and brought into WI for the illegal, dangerous operation. They used fake SS numbers to get asbestos certification for the men. Then, about 9000 feet of asbestos insulation was removed from buildings without any protective gear. Not only did this illegal operation violate the Clean Air Act; it also exposed the innocent men to asbestos.
The three men were sent to prison for 2-3 years each.
Contact a Mesothelioma Attorney Wisconsin
If you were wrongfully exposed to asbestos while working for a Wisconsin company, contact mesothelioma centers today to speak with one of our asbestos attorneys. Our attorneys understand the damaging effects of asbestos and strive to obtain fair compensation for clients and their families. Compensation is typically recovered to pay for medical bills, funeral costs, treatment programs, lost wages and emotional trauma.
For more information about your right to compensation, contact our mesothelioma lawyers in Wisconsin today.