Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure in Iowa
Prolonged exposure to asbestos can lead to serious health problems including pleural mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer. If you have lived and worked in Iowa for significant amount of time, there is a chance that you were exposed to asbestos at home or in the workplace. For your convenience, we have compiled information about asbestos and mesothelioma in the state of Iowa.
Below you will find recent statistics about mesothelioma and asbestos exposure in Iowa. We have also included descriptions of industries and lists of cities, towns and specific job sites in Iowa where asbestos exposure has occurred. Local Iowa mesothelioma doctors and treatment centers are also listed. Finally we include recent news articles about asbestos and mesothelioma in Iowa.
Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma Statistics in Iowa
From 1999-2015, 432 Iowa residents died from mesothelioma
- Iowa has a mesothelioma mortality rate of approximately 9 people per million each year (Source: CDC)
- Since Iowa is mainly geologically inactive flatlands, there is no known naturally occurring asbestos (Source: USGS)
- Linn and Polk counties in Iowa have suffered the most asbestos-related deaths between 1999-2013 (Source: CDC)
Asbestos Exposure in Iowa Workplaces
While Iowa doesn’t have any naturally occurring asbestos putting residents at risk, many industries in the state heavily rely on asbestos in their facilities and processes.
Power plant workers typically work with asbestos-containing materials on a regular basis, since its heat and chemical resistance made it an ideal mineral for their processes. Wolf Creek Generating Station and Duane Arnold Energy Center are just two of the Iowa-based power plants known to have used asbestos.
Iowa ranks second in the nation for agricultural production, using about 90% of its land as farmland. Iowa boasts rich, productive soil, and while there is no concern about natural asbestos in the area, those in agriculture still face the threat of exposure. Farm machinery often made use of various asbestos products, like gaskets or brake material. Suppliers like the Iowa Farmer Tool Company put those in this industry at risk.
Many manufacturers used asbestos throughout the country, but Fort Dodge has a particularly worrisome history of gypsum manufacturing. Gypsum is mined and processed for use in plaster and drywall at a number of facilities in the area, including the National Gypsum Company, which was known to use and make asbestos products. This heavy use of asbestos coupled with the frequent natural disasters Iowa unfortunately experiences puts many workers and residents at risk of exposure.
The durability of asbestos, even against chemical reactions, made it an important mineral for many chemical plants in their processes and throughout the facilities. Irwin Chemical Company, as well as USI Chemical Company, in Iowa are just a few of these facilities known to have caused asbestos exposure.
The U.S. Naval Reserve Aviation Base in Ottumwa is one of hundreds of U.S. military bases known to have used asbestos-containing materials. Buildings on the bases, as well as the various military vessels, all used asbestos products in their construction, putting veterans at high risk for mesothelioma.
Asbestos Superfund Sites in Iowa
Since Iowa isn’t connected to any large bodies of water, there are no shipyards posing an asbestos threat to residents. However, Iowa has had several sites included on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund list for a variety of environmental hazards, including two with asbestos concerns.
E. I. DuPont de Nemours and Company
DuPont, one of the world’s largest chemical companies today, is one of the most notorious corporations for its environmental mishaps. Though the company’s headquarters is in Delaware, a state that also was home to a DuPont Superfund site, they had facilities throughout the country. DuPont operated in Lee County, near West Point in Iowa. Like the site in Delaware, the Iowa facilities were contaminated with decades of industrial waste. The soil and water surrounding the area were contaminated with various metals, inorganic compounds, and traces of asbestos. The site was added to the Superfund List in 1990, and maintenance and monitoring of the situation are ongoing today.
John Deere (Dubuque Works)
John Deere is a well-known manufacturer of construction equipment, like backhoes and bulldozers. This 1,500 acre property a few miles away from the City of Dubuque had been in operation since 1946, and over time improper waste disposal led to some contamination throughout the site. Improper waste disposals of various metals, as well as asbestos-containing materials, and a later fuel line leak contaminated the groundwater. This site was added to the Superfund List in 1988. With the company’s cooperation, they were able to continue their operations during cleanup efforts with the EPA. The site is no longer on the Superfund List, though continues to be monitored.
Iowa Cities with Known Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos exposure on the job is known to have occurred in the following Iowa 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 Smaller Iowa Sites
Workplace asbestos exposure is also a concern if one looks beyond the major cities and towns in Iowa. 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 Iowa
Last week, the Iowa State Senate passed a bill that severely restricts asbestos liability lawsuits. Known as Senate File 376, the bill is described by supporters as an attempt to eliminate “double-dipping” by plaintiffs who have already received an average of $600,000 in liability claims compensation.
Author: Linda Molinari
Editor in Chief, Mesothelioma Cancer AllianceRead about Linda
Reviewer: Jennifer R. Lucarelli
Lawyer for Mesothelioma Victims and Their FamiliesRead about Jennifer
Bowker, Michael. Fatal Deception: The Terrifying True Story of How Asbestos is Killing America. (New York: Touchstone, 2003.)
Evans, David and Greg Johnstone. “Asbestos Use Companies and Locations in Iowa.” All About Malignant Mesothelioma, September 2005.
http://www.allaboutmalignantmesothelioma.com/asbestos-use-locations-iowa.htm (accessed 23 August 2010).
Lipsher, Steve. “Small Towns Face Crunch to Eradicate Asbestos.” The Denver Post, 26 September 2007.