Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure in North Dakota
If you live in the state of North Dakota and have worked there for significant amount of time, there is a chance that you were exposed to asbestos in the workplace. Prolonged exposure to asbestos can lead to serious health problems including mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer and other non-malignant lung impairments.
To assist people who live in North Dakota, we have provided statistics about asbestos and mesothelioma in the state. We have also included descriptions of the industries and lists of cities, towns and specific job sites in North Dakota where asbestos exposure is likely to have occurred. Treatment options and recent news about asbestos and mesothelioma in North Dakota are also provided.
Mesothelioma and Asbestos Statistics in North Dakota
Even though North Dakota is one of the least populous states in the U.S., there are still numerous sites where asbestos exposure occurred.
From 1999-2015, approximately 129 North Dakota residents died from mesothelioma
- The mesothelioma death in North Dakota is above the national average at 11.3 people per million (Source: CDC)
- There are no known asbestos deposits that occur naturally in North Dakota (Source: USGS)
- Mesothelioma mortality rates are somewhat higher in the western-central counties of Mercer, Mclean, Oliver, Morton and Dunn than elsewhere in North Dakota (Source: Journal of the American Medical Association)
Asbestos Use in North Dakota Work Environments
North Dakota has a lot of land area, and the state’s industry reflects both its remoteness and the needs and interests of its residents.
Three North Dakota power plants that have been identified as having asbestos issues include Coyote Station, Stanton Powerhouse, and United Power. Two other sites in Grand Forks – Northern States Power Company and Grand Forks Gas and Electric Company – also exposed a large number of workers to asbestos during the course of its operation. Asbestos was frequently used by power companies throughout the country to insulate against electricity and heat in boilers, turbines, generators, and gaskets during the power-generating process.
Vermiculite mined from Libby, MT, was processed in several North Dakota cities, including Center, Minot, and Stanton. While vermiculite itself is a relatively harmless form of clay, it is often contaminated with tremolite, a deadly form of amphibole asbestos. According to some estimates, more than 300 shipments containing a total of 26,000 tons of asbestos-contaminated vermiculite passed through these cities, eventually making their way into industrial supplies and consumer products.
During the height of the Cold War, missile silos were constructed throughout a number of different states, including North Dakota, to perpetuate the concept of mutually assured destruction, should an intercontinental war break out with enemies overseas. These mid-century military installations contained plenty of asbestos, as did traditional military bases across the country (such as the Grand Forks Air Force Base), exposing both the construction workers who built them and the veterans and civilians who may have been stationed in the silos.
North Dakota had at least one infamous oil refinery operated by BP Amoco in Mandan. Because of the potential for fire and explosion, oil refineries have historically contained much asbestos to prevent any deadly catastrophes. Instead, many of the workers at these refineries were exposed to a slower killer – mesothelioma – brought on by breathing in the carcinogenic fibers meant to protect them. Other oil companies that operated in North Dakota include American Oil Refinery and Standard Oil.
Asbestos Superfund Sites in North Dakota
While North Dakota has only had two locations added to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund list, at least one of those has likely contained asbestos.
The EPA first assessed this site, which operated for a decade between 1961 and 1971, accepting various forms of waste products from the City of Minot, ND, and surrounding farms, towns, industrial facilities, and military bases. Although the primary contaminants of concern included things like oil, battery casings, and lime sludge, the EPA’s five-year report from 2011 acknowledges that the exact makeup of the landfill is not entirely known. Given the era during which the landfill operated, and the wide variety of materials it accepted during that time, the likelihood that it has at least some asbestos-containing materials among its refuse is relatively high.
Asbestos Exposure at Smaller North Dakota Sites
Beyond the major cities and towns in North Dakota, asbestos exposure has also occurred at a number of other job sites. Select a town to see the list of its work sites where asbestos exposure occurred. Asbestos exposure at any one of the sites revealed could put a worker at risk to develop pleural mesothelioma.
Author: Linda Molinari
Editor in Chief, Mesothelioma Cancer AllianceRead about Linda
Reviewer: Jennifer R. Lucarelli
Lawyer for Mesothelioma Victims and Their FamiliesRead about Jennifer
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. “Who Is At Risk of Exposure to Asbestos?” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/asbestos/risk2.html (accessed 23 August 2010).
Cabrera-Santiago, Manuel et al. “Prevalence of Asbestos-Related Disease Among Electrical Power Generation Workers in Puerto Rico.” Presentation at American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, 2007.
Evans, David and Greg Johnstone. “Asbestos Use Companies and Locations in North Dakota.” All About Malignant Mesothelioma (September 2005.)
EWG Action Fund. “W. R. Grace Hotspots in North Dakota.” Environmental Working Group, 1 June 2005.
http://www.ewg.org/files/ND_factsheet.pdf (accessed 23 August 2010).
Sorahan, Tom. “Mortality of UK Oil Refinery and Petroleum Distribution Workers, 1951-2003.” Occupational Medicine 57, no. 3 (2007).