Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma in Wisconsin
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 Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin.
Below you will find recent statistics about mesothelioma and asbestos exposure in Wisconsin. We have also included descriptions of industries and lists of cities, towns and specific job sites where asbestos exposure has occurred in the state. Local Wisconsin mesothelioma doctors and treatment centers are also listed. Finally, we include recent news articles about asbestos and mesothelioma in Wisconsin.
Asbestos and Mesothelioma Statistics in Wisconsin
From 1999-2015, approximately 1,083 Wisconsin residents died from mesothelioma
- The mesothelioma death rate in Wisconsin is 11.4 per million people, which is significantly greater than the national average (Source: CDC)
- Only 2 asbestos deposits are catalogued in Wisconsin (Source: USGS)
- Mesothelioma death rates are much higher near metropolitan areas of Wisconsin, especially around Duluth, Green Bay, and Milwaukee (Source: Journal of the American Medical Association)
Asbestos Exposure in Wisconsin Workplaces
Paper mills and power plants are the two biggest industries in the state to expose workers to asbestos, although by no means the only ones.
Kimberly-Clark and Georgia-Pacific are among the top 10 employers in Wisconsin whose production of paper products exceeds that of nearby states. Direct use of asbestos is not normally considered a hazard to pulp mill workers, but asbestos-containing materials were often used in drying felts and adhesives. These drying felts had to be changed quite often and were a major source of asbestos exposure. Other paper companies to expose asbestos workers include Consolidated Papers in Wisconsin Rapids, International Paper Company in Fond Du Lac, and Green Bay Paper and Pulp Company.
Power companies in Wisconsin, like those in many other states, used a ton of asbestos to insulate against electricity and heat. As a result, many of the people who worked in power plants across the state were exposed to asbestos, which could cause mesothelioma decades down the road. Some of the power plants known to have had problems with asbestos exposure include Madison Gas & Electric Company, Milwaukee Central Power Station, and Eastern Wisconsin Electric Company.
Bordered by two of the Great Lakes, Wisconsin has a number of shipyards that go back a half century or more, placing them in the period when asbestos was most heavily used in ship construction. Shipbuilders and other workers at these shipyards constitute some of the people most at risk of developing mesothelioma. Shipyards in Marinette, Superior, and Sturgeon Bay all have contributed to the shipping industry for many years.
Wisconsin Asbestos Shipyards
Great Lakes states are home to a number of shipyards and docks that have exposed their employees to high levels of asbestos over the years, and Wisconsin is no exception.
Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding
This shipyard has operated in Sturgeon Bay, WI, for a century, although it came under the control of Fincantieri Marine Group only within the last decade. Previous names for the yard include Christy Corporation, Leathem D. Smith Shipbuilding Company, and Sturgeon Bay Shipbuilding. During World War II, the shipyard constructed a number of subchasers, frigates, net-laying ships, and water tankers, with a peak of about 5,000 shipbuilders and other employees during the war. During the 1950s and 1960s, the shipyard continued to produce ships for the U.S. Navy, but more recent ownership has focused on commercial boats. Those who were employed at the height of the shipyard’s operations, however, were likely exposed to high levels of asbestos and may be at risk of developing mesothelioma.
Also presently owned by Fincantieri, the Marinette Marine Corporation was opened during the run-up of the U.S. entry into World War II, when the shipbuilding industry started to boom. In the ensuing years, the company has focused primarily on producing commercial ships, although it still dabbles in naval projects, partnering with companies like Lockheed Martin on defense contracts. During the height of its operations, the shipyard was likely a site of major asbestos exposure for workers, who had a higher chance of developing cancer later in life than most other people.
Located in Superior, WI, the shipyard now known as Fraser was opened in 1889 by Alexander McDougall, who moved his operations from Duluth. Known as the American Steel Barge Company, the shipyard produced five barges annually, mostly meant for sailing on the Great Lakes, but the company also produced ocean-worthy ships for World War I. The shipyard traded hands in 1945, and over the next several decades continued to increase its shipbuilding operations and facilities. Although relatively small compared to some other shipyards, asbestos is a problem no matter the size of the company, and workers at Fraser Shipyards were likely exposed to the deadly carcinogen throughout their employment.
Wisconsin Cities with Asbestos Problems
Provided below is a list of cities in the state of Wisconsin where asbestos use in the workplace is known to have occurred. Click on a city below to see more detailed information about the specific job sites where asbestos exposure occurred.
Asbestos Risks at Other Wisconsin Work Sites
Workplace asbestos exposure is also a concern if one looks beyond the major cities and towns in Wisconsin. 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 Wisconsin
Green Bay will be receiving a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help with its redevelopment efforts. The grant will go towards assessments for hazardous materials like asbestos and petroleum products.
The former VE Carter School of Excellence in Milwaukee was recently listed as an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund site for its asbestos and other hazardous materials. The airborne asbestos was so thick in some areas, the EPA said, “it looks like snow.”
Author: Linda Molinari
Editor in Chief, Mesothelioma Cancer AllianceRead about Linda
Reviewer: Jennifer R. Lucarelli
Lawyer for Mesothelioma Victims and Their FamiliesRead about Jennifer
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 Wisconsin.” All About Malignant Mesothelioma, (September 2006)
Geological Research, Analyses and Services Programs. “Naturally Occurring Asbestos Locations in the Contiguous U.S. and Alaska.” Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 25 May 2007.
http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/noa/usamap.pdf (accessed 23 August 2010).