Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure in Illinois
If you have worked and lived in Illinois for significant amount of time, there is a chance that you were exposed to asbestos at home or in the workplace. Prolonged exposure to asbestos can lead to serious health problems including pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer.
As a service to people who live in Illinois, we have compiled the following information about asbestos and mesothelioma in Illinois. Below you will find recent statistics about asbestos exposure and mesothelioma in Illinois. We have also included descriptions of the industries and lists of cities, towns and specific job sites in Illinois where asbestos exposure has occurred. Local Illinois mesothelioma doctors and treatment centers are listed and recent news articles about asbestos and mesothelioma in Illinois are also provided.
Asbestos and Mesothelioma Statistics in Illinois
From 1999-2015, 2,003 Illinois residents died from mesothelioma
- Illinois has a mesothelioma mortality rate of about 9 people per million annually (Source: CDC)
- La Salle, McLean and Lake counties in Illinois ranked among the top 50 in the nation with the highest age-adjusted mesothelioma death rate from 2000-2009 (Source: CDC)
- Illinois has no naturally occurring asbestos or ever had any active asbestos prospects, meaning exposure largely occurs in the workplace (Source: USGS)
Asbestos Exposure in Illinois Workplaces
Citizens of Illinois are fortunate to not have to worry about naturally occurring asbestos, but many industries throughout the state relied heavily on the toxin.
Companies like Citgo Petroleum Illinois and Mobil Oil Illinois relied on asbestos for their processes because of its extreme heat resistance.
Since asbestos can resist both extreme heat and most chemical reactions, it became widely used in manufacturing processes. Companies like Nabisco Brands Inc in Marseilles and Kraft Foods, Inc. in Champaign are known to have used asbestos in their plants.
Baldwin Power Plant and Clinton Power Station in Illinois, along with power plants throughout the country, used asbestos in their machinery, putting workers in these plants at risk for exposure.
Steel mills often used asbestos insulation to help protect equipment and employees from extreme heat and potential fires. These mills, like Granite City Steel and Keystone Steel and Wire, managed to keep their machines safe with asbestos, but put their workers in danger.
Mesothelioma largely affects veterans because of the wide use of asbestos in the military. Illinois is home to a number of U.S. Army bases and various arsenals like the Rock Island Arsenal, which may contain asbestos.
Asbestos Superfund Sites in Illinois
While Illinois does not have any shipyards, the state is home to several sites included on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund list. Two of these sites required cleanup due to the presence of a variety of environmental toxins, including asbestos.
The Johns-Manville Corporation began back in 1901 after a merger between two companies that heavily focused on the production of various asbestos materials, like insulation and cement. Over time, their offerings increased widely to even more asbestos-containing products, including everything from asbestos paper and pipe covering to floor tiles. Their gaskets and insulating materials were also widely used for naval vessels. Their 150-acre site in Waukegan was used as an asbestos disposal site for years, until they ceased operations on site in the 1990’s. The EPA began taking notice and making remediation efforts in 1982, after realizing significant levels of asbestos in the soil, air, debris and ground water among other contaminants. Cleanup efforts have been ongoing since, and the site will continued to be monitored.
Matthiessen & Hegeler Zinc Company
The 160-acre site of the Matthiessen & Hegeler Zinc Co. in La Salle was primarily a zinc smelting facility that operated from the 1850’s until the late 1970’s. At that time, another company purchased the facility and became the La Salle Rolling Mills until they went bankrupt in 2001. Through these years of use, waste and pollution built up around the area. The site was added to the Superfund List in 2003, after the EPA proposed its addition shortly after the bankruptcy of the prior tenants. The EPA noted various metal waste, like zinc and cadmium, which had runoff into the river and surrounding soil. They also found asbestos waste and storage tanks that were all removed from the site in their cleanup efforts. Investigations for the site and further cleanup plans remain ongoing.
Illinois Cities with Known Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos exposure on the job is known to have occurred in the following Illinois cities. Prolonged asbestos exposure can cause the terminal cancer mesothelioma as well as other asbestos-related diseases. Click on any city below to view a complete list of commercial, military and residential job sites where asbestos exposure occurred in that city.
Asbestos Exposure at Other Illinois Job Sites
Workplace asbestos exposure is also a concern if one looks beyond the major cities and towns in Illinois. Select a town below to see the list of its job sites known to have exposed workers to asbestos. Asbestos exposure at any one of the job sites revealed could have placed a worker at risk to develop mesothelioma cancer and other asbestos-related diseases.
Asbestos-Related News in Illinois
During this year’s American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, researchers presented the results of a phase 3 global clinical trial called KEYNOTE-407. The study’s data concluded that the combination of Keytruda® (pembrolizumab) and standard platinum-based chemotherapy should be the new first-line treatment for metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), which could also mean changes ahead for mesothelioma treatment.
A report from Univision Chicago recently shed light on the inactivity of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) with respect to removing asbestos from its schools. About a dozen schools were supposed to undergo abatement for friable asbestos per environmental regulations, but it has not yet happened according to multiple sources.
Author: Linda Molinari
Editor in Chief, Mesothelioma Cancer AllianceRead about Linda
Reviewer: Jennifer R. Lucarelli
Lawyer for Mesothelioma Victims and Their FamiliesRead about Jennifer
Associated Press. "Federal Mogul Settlement Unravels." Boston Globe, 1 October 2007.
Krstev, S. et al. "Mortality Among Shipyard Workers: A Retrospective Cohort Study." Occupational and Environmental Medicine, October 2007.
Sachdev, Armeet. "County's Courts Win Some Breathing Room." Chicago Tribune, 26 March 2007.