Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma in South Dakota
Prior to its ban in the 1980s, asbestos was used extensively in industries as an insulating and sealing material in South Dakota and throughout the United States. South Dakota industries that used asbestos include power plants, construction, cement factories, and military bases. Even after these industries began to phase-out asbestos, people exposed to toxic asbestos continued to get sick with mesothelioma and other serious life-changing illnesses long after their initial exposure. This is because there is a “latency period” between the time a person is exposed to asbestos and when the disease actually develops. Second-hand asbestos dust exposure of the families and loved ones of workers is also extremely common.
If you have developed mesothelioma as a result of worksite exposure to asbestos in South Dakota, you may be eligible for financial compensation for you and your family with the help of MesoLawyersCare attorneys. Some examples of South Dakota worksites that presented workers with a high risk of asbestos exposure include the following five sites:
1. Ellsworth Air Force Base – Rapid City, SD
Ellsworth Force Base in Rapid City became operational in 1941 as the United States entered World War II. During the war, Ellsworth served as a training location for B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber units. Thousands of pilots, navigators, radio operators, and gunners were trained at the facility. After the war, the base continued to operate, conducting all types of projects, from missile construction to aircraft maintenance. Unfortunately, during most of the 20th century, working at Air Force bases and with airplanes often led to asbestos exposure. Military planes were built with asbestos-containing materials that were used in gasket materials, clamps, and brakes, and other aircraft parts. Mechanics and other maintenance workers who worked on worn down planes were prone to exposure to asbestos dust from new and worn asbestos-containing aircraft parts. Other workers in the vicinity of this dust were also at risk of inhaling the harmful particles. These military and civilian personnel who worked at Ellsworth Air Force Bases have an elevated risk for developing mesothelioma.
2. Pathfinder Atomic Power Plant – Sioux Falls, SD
Built in the 1960s by Northern States Power Company, the Pathfinder Atomic Power Plant was to serve as an experimental plant—the company’s goal was to gain experience operating a nuclear plant before opening others like it. As a nuclear plant, Pathfinder only operated for a total of 30 minutes at full capacity. The company learned what they had done wrong and applied this knowledge to other plants, while the Pathfinder plant was converted to an oil and gas powered station in 1967. The plant operated until 2000, when one of its cooling towers collapsed and the plant was shut down. As in other power plants built prior to the 1980s, workers at Pathfinder Atomic Power Plant were regularly exposed to asbestos in insulation, gaskets, packing, piping, equipment, and protective gear as asbestos was used for its insulating and sealing qualities. These workers, who were not warned about the dangers of asbestos, are at risk for developing mesothelioma even years after their exposure.
3. Yankton State Hospital – Yankton, SD
The Yankton State Hospital is a psychiatric hospital that has been in operation for nearly 140 years. The hospital was built to meet the needs of the growing population in South Dakota area. Within the first year, the hospital had 50 patients—a number that was actually considered too high. Over the years the facility continued to grow adding programs for geriatrics, addiction recovery, and other dietary and mental health needs. Due to a fire at the hospital early on, the state took particular steps to attempt to make the buildings heat resistant. Before the 1980s, asbestos was used in building materials for its heat resistant qualities. Asbestos was used in ceiling and floor tiles, pipe insulation, even cement. As asbestos aged, it became flaky and airborne. This put those working and staying at the state hospital, particularly those conducting repairs on the older buildings, at risk for inhaling asbestos dust that can lead to fatal diseases like mesothelioma.
4. Ben French Power Plant – Rapid City, SD
Owned and operated by Black Hills Corporation, the Ben French Power Plant is a coal fired power station. The power plant was built in 1961 with the capacity to produce 25 megawatts of power. The plant was decommissioned in 2012, and torn down in 2017. As with other coal-fired power plants built before the 1980s, the Ben French Power Plant used asbestos throughout its facilities. This work site used powerful, high-heat equipment that used asbestos materials for insulation and sealing purposes. Much of the equipment in the plant required the use of asbestos to function properly. This asbestos material would often result in dusty asbestos, leaving plant workers exposed to the dangerous health hazards caused by asbestos, especially during maintenance and repair activities.
5. South Dakota Cement Plant – Rapid City, SD
The South Dakota Cement Plant is currently owned and operated by GCC Cement. The plant was originally founded by the state government and built in 1920. For years it has been a main source of jobs for the Rapid City and South Dakota economies. Before the 1980s, it was common for cement to contain asbestos. Because asbestos is a heat resistant mineral, it was used in cement for siding and roof tiles. Cement plant workers were likely exposed to asbestos while mixing, molding, or distributing cement. While the workers were at risk of inhaling the toxic dust at the plant, far too often they carried the dust home on their clothing exposing their families to the dangerous dust. Exposure to asbestos put many South Dakota Cement Plant workers and their families at risk for developing asbestos related illnesses later in life.
The attorneys from MesoLawyersCare have recovered more than $10 billion dollars for people who have developed mesothelioma. Our group has successfully represented workers exposed to asbestos at worksites in South Dakota and throughout the nation. For more information or a free consultation, complete the form on this page, have a live chat now with one of our representatives, or call us now.
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