Compared to most other states, North Dakota’s small and mostly rural population has not experienced a lot of asbestos exposure or its consequences. However, the proximity to Montana and that state’s mining activity continues to pose a threat of asbestos exposure to North Dakota residents. There is also evidence that links erionite, a mineral with properties that resemble asbestos and is widely used to pave roads and other surfaces, to mesothelioma.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. We invite you to fill out our form today for a free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information about top mesothelioma lawyers in North Dakota, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file an asbestos trust fund claim, and much more.
We offer assistance to all asbestos victims and their families in North Dakota, including:
Fargo, Bismarck, Grand Forks, Minot, West Fargo, Williston, Dickinson, Mandan, Jamestown, Wahpeton, Devils Lake, Valley City, Minot AFB, Grafton, Beulah, Watford City, Lincoln, Rugby, Horace, Casselton, Grand Forks AFB, Hazen, New Town, Bottineau, Lisbon, Carrington, Stanley, Mayville, Belcourt, Oakes, Langdon, Harvey, Bowman, Hillsboro, Tioga, Garrison, New Rockford, Park River, Larimore, Ellendale, Rolla, Washburn, Crosby, Shell Valley, Fort Totten, Cavalier, Velva, Hettinger, Parshall, Cando, Surrey, Kenmare Beach, Linton, Burlington, Thompson, Wishek, Belfield, Killdeer, Walhalla, Northwood, LaMoure, Cooperstown, New Salem, Hankinson, Cannon Ball, Enderlin, Mapleton, Mohall, Dunseith, Gwinner, Drayton, Mott, Hatton, Napoleon, Mandaree, Glen, Ullin, Underwood, Ray, Harwood, Wilton, Ashley, Kindred, Hebron, Steele, Lakota, Milnor, Lidgerwood, New England, Elgin, Minto, Portland, Rolette, Turtle Lake Center, Reile’s Acres, Pembina, Towner, Edgeley, Richardton, Forman, Berthold, Green Acres, Four Bears Village, Argusville, Fessenden, and more.
North Dakota Asbestos Facts
- North Dakota ranks 46th among the 50 states for the number of deaths of residents related to asbestos exposure.
- Between 1999 and 2013 there were 613 asbestos-related deaths.
- Just 50 of those deaths were from asbestosis, while mesothelioma caused 116 and lung cancer 464.
- Burleigh County with the state capital Bismarck has the highest rate of asbestos deaths in the state.
North Dakota, Asbestos, and Mesothelioma
Farms and ranches make up the bulk of North Dakota’s economy, which is why asbestos exposure has not been a major problem int he state. But even in this rural state asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) were widely used as insulation and fireproofing in construction, power generation plants, automotive parts, and military facilities. There are a few ways people in the state have been exposed and are still at risk of exposure:
- Homes, schools, courthouses, auto repair shops, airports and railroad yards and other buildings constructed in North Dakota between the 1930s and mid-1980s often contain ACMs.
- North Dakota is a producer of energy, primarily of petroleum, coal, and shale gas. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), North Dakota is the nation’s second-largest source of oil, producing over 575,000 barrels of oil per day. Older facilities built before the 1980s used asbestos insulation in pipes, gaskets, power generators, and boilers to reduce the risk of fire and electrical damage.
- Power generation plants also used asbestos as insulation and fire retardant materials to protect the facilities and workers from fires and electrical discharges. Older power plants used asbestos liberally, even using the flexible mineral fibers in workers’ protective clothing and workbenches. In contrast, power plants built since the 1980s use alternative fire retardant materials and insulation.
- Asbestos was also used extensively by the U.S. military. There are currently three U.S. Air Force installations in North Dakota: Minot Air Force Base (AFB), Grand Forks AFB, and Cavalier Air Force Station (AFS). These military facilities were built during peak asbestos construction years. Although abatement procedures have been carried out since the 1980s, many veterans stationed at these North Dakota bases were exposed to asbestos.
Some specific sites of known asbestos use and exposure in the state are:
- Tesoro Mandan Refinery in Mandan
- R.M. Heskett Power Station in Mandan
- Northern States Power Company (now Xcel Energy) in Fargo
- Otter Tail Power Company Coyote Station in Beulah
- Great River Energy Stanton Station in Stanton
- Fargo Foundry Company/Mid-America Steel in Fargo
Erionite and Mesothelioma
Asbestos exposure is the principal cause of mesothelioma and asbestosis, but scientists have discovered another mineral which may trigger malignant mesothelioma:
- Erionite is a naturally-occurring material formed when volcanic ash is changed by erosion and interaction with groundwater. It is a member of a mineral group called zeolite. Like asbestos, erionite is fibrous and can be dangerous when its fibers become airborne.
- Before researchers discovered its asbestos-like carcinogenic properties, erionite was used to pave highways and other roads, especially in the Rocky Mountain states and the Dakotas. According to an article in Real Clear Science, “at least 300 miles of roads in North Dakota are paved with” erionite.
- Every time heavy vehicles drive on these roadways, erionite fibers are released into the air. Once they’re loose in the environment, those fibers can be breathed in and settle into the pleural lining of the lung or the peritoneum. The carcinogenic fibers then form tumors that develop into malignant mesothelioma.
Dunn County, where most of the paving with erionite was done, may undergo an asbestos cancer epidemic similar to that in Boyali, Turkey. Researchers who carried out a detailed study of both localities note that “airborne erionite concentrations measured in North Dakota…equaled or exceeded concentrations in Boyali, where 6.25% of all deaths are caused by malignant mesothelioma.”
North Dakota Asbestos Laws
The state of North Dakota manages its asbestos abatement program through the Department of Health under its Division of Air Quality.
- The North Dakota Division of Air Quality manages the state’s air quality emission standards regarding asbestos-containing materials and sets standards for certifying asbestos-related work.
- All demolition or renovation projects that involve more than three square feet of asbestos-related materials must give notification to the state.
- The removal process requires the “wetting” process of removal, meaning dampening the material and then stored in a secure container, unless the material is one piece and can be secured safely.
- After the asbestos is stored in a secure way, it must be labeled as “Hazardous Material.” The disposal location must be listed on the asbestos disposing packaging as well, and any vehicles transporting asbestos must be clearly marked.
North Dakota Statute of Limitations on Mesothelioma and Asbestos Lawsuits
N.D. Cent. Code § 28-01-01 et seq., North Dakota’s statute of limitations on asbestos cases, requires that asbestos-related cases must be filed within two years from the time that the disease has been discovered, or within two years from the date that the illness should have been discovered within reason.
The two-year discovery rule also applies to wrongful death claims personal injury cases, which must be filed within two years of the victim’s date of death. However, asbestos-related wrongful death cases are allowed a three-year statute, starting the date of the victim’s death.
Getting Legal Help in North Dakota
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for damages for medical expenses, pain, suffering, lost wages and more. Don’t forget to fill out our form to get our free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information on the leading asbestos and mesothelioma attorneys in your area. For questions and assistance, feel free to contact us at 800-793-4540.
Page Reviewed and Edited by Mesothelioma Attorney Paul Danziger
Paul Danziger grew up in Houston, Texas and earned a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. For over 25 years years he has focused on representing mesothelioma cancer victims and others hurt by asbestos exposure. Paul and his law firm have represented thousands of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer, recovering hundreds of millions of dollars for injured clients. Every client is extremely important to Paul and he will take every call from clients who want to speak with him. Paul and his law firm handle mesothelioma cases throughout the United States.