Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma in Wisconsin
Often called “America’s Dairyland” Wisconsin is one of the nation’s leading dairy producers. Though known for its dairy production, the state also has a history of industrial activity, specifically in manufacturing. Manufacturing and other industries have been economically beneficial to the state but have unfortunately left many Wisconsin workers exposed to asbestos. As was common throughout the United States prior to the late 1980s, these industries frequently used large amounts asbestos in their facilities. Worksite exposure to asbestos resulted in many workers in Wisconsin developing the deadly disease mesothelioma—a type of cancer caused by asbestos.
The skilled legal professionals at MesoLawyersCare have successfully recovered cash awards for workers and their families who have been injured by jobsite exposure to asbestos in Wisconsin and across the United States. While workers and their families may become exposed to asbestos at a number of different locations, the following Wisconsin worksites present known heightened risks for exposure to past and present workers.
1. St. Regis Paper Mill – Rhinelander, WI
St. Regis Paper Company was started in 1899 by George Sherman and David Anderson. The company quickly expanded and had paper mills in several states. By the 1970s, the company was the third largest paper producer in the U.S. and in the 1980s, the company sold to Champion International Paper. The St. Regis Paper mill in Rhinelander was a centerpiece to the town, providing jobs for the locals. However, former workers at the St. Regis Paper mill are at risk for developing mesothelioma and other serious illnesses due to worksite exposure to asbestos. For much of the 20th century, paper mills like the St. Regis mill, used substantial amounts of asbestos for insulation and sealants for boilers and other machinery because of the high heat generated in the paper making process. Workers doing maintenance were particularly vulnerable as the process of removing and applying asbestos insulation (and asbestos-containing parts) to equipment caused asbestos-containing dust to become airborne. Not only did they inhale the toxic dust, but they often carried it home on their clothing putting the health of their family members at risk.
2. Universal Refractories – Oak Creek, WI
Universal Refractories was a manufacturing company that made several asbestos containing products prior to the 1980s. The company specifically manufactured hot tops, sideboards, and inserts that all contained asbestos. Hot tops are a type of insulation that lines the inner surface and tops of molds in metal casting. Asbestos was used in making the hot tops because of its thermal properties. Steel mills used these hot tops while molding steel—the hot tops prevented heat loss to the mold, allowing the liquid steel to properly fill the body of the mold as it cooled and solidified. Workers at Universal Refractories were exposed to large quantities of asbestos as they made these asbestos-containing items. This exposure, though it occurred years ago, put workers at risk of developing mesothelioma and other serious illnesses. Workers using this refractory materials in industrial environments throughout the country were also exposed to asbestos.
3. Plastics Engineering (Plenco) – Sheboygan, WI
In 1934, the Plastics Engineering Company, now known as Plenco, was founded by Frank Brotz and his five sons. The company started out by producing liquid resins and castings for molded products. Later, the company switched to pressed molding compounds and focused on custom molding—they made everything from utensils to bullets used in World War II. Working with molding compounds prior to the 1980s was particularly dangerous as asbestos was often incorporated into the compounds. Workers were exposed to asbestos while molding plastic parts from asbestos containing compounds as well as while sanding or drilling finished products. Plenco workers who inhaled asbestos dust even years ago, may still be at risk for developing asbestos related illnesses.
4. Beloit Iron Works – Beloit, WI
The history of Beloit Iron Works dates back to the 1850s, though the company with the Beloit name was officially founded in 1885. The company built and repaired paper machines, and as the paper mill industry grew, so did Beloit Iron Works. During World War II, Beloit shifted its production to war materials, but following the war went right back to producing quality paper making machines. By the 1980s, the company employed over 7,000 people. Sadly, many of these workers were exposed to asbestos while working at Beloit Iron Works. Asbestos was widely used for much of the 20th century in manufacturing for its heat resistant qualities. Workers were exposed to asbestos found in their own machinery and facility and while building paper machines with asbestos containing components.
5. Genoa Generating Station – Genoa, WI
The Genoa Generating Station is a coal fired power station that was built in the 1940s on the banks of the Mississippi River. In 1966, a new unit, called Genoa #3, was constructed and the first unit was dismantled. The plant is now a single unit station, but can produce 379 megawatts of electricity. Those who worked at the Genoa Generating Station prior to the late 1980s were likely exposed to materials containing asbestos including insulation in piping, boilers, asbestos-containing gaskets, and other machinery. As asbestos aged, or was disturbed in repair operations, it often became airborne leaving employees and those who performed maintenance on the machinery at risk for inhaling the toxic fibers. Because the effects of asbestos often take decades to manifest, even years after their initial exposure, these workers can develop serious asbestos related diseases.
The attorneys from MesoLawyersCare have recovered more than $10 billion dollars for people diagnosed with mesothelioma. Our firm has successfully represented workers and families exposed to asbestos at worksites throughout Wisconsin. For more information or a free consultation, fill out the form on this page, have a live chat now with one of our representatives, or call us today.
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