Asbestos Exposure in Illinois

Many industries have used asbestos in construction, insulation, and several other building capacities. Illinois, especially Chicago, has a sizeable industrial scene. This led to the state becoming 7th highest in the nation for deaths related to asbestos exposure. Cook, Lake, and DuPage are the top counties in the state for deaths from asbestosis and asbestos-related cancers (like mesothelioma) between 1999 and 2013. Prolonged asbestos exposure can also cause illnesses like pleural effusion and lung cancer.

A category of six minerals that occur naturally in the environment as bundles of fibers, asbestos used to be a popular choice in construction. It was an ideal building material due to its cost, durability, and heat resistance. This was before it was known to be carcinogenic, or to have cancer-causing tendencies. The mineral can be found in soil and rock deposits or water runoff spots that can transfer it to other places.

High-Risk Areas

There are a few areas in Illinois that have a higher risk of asbestos exposure than others. Work and military are the capacities that see most of the mineral.

The United States Military

At one point, the U.S. military was one of the largest consumers of asbestos. Veterans, actually, make up one-third of patients with mesothelioma. Data shows Navy veterans as the branch with the most asbestos usage, most likely because of their wide application of asbestos-containing products in ships, bases, tools, and shipyards.

A couple of military facilities with confirmed asbestos at one time in Illinois include:

  • Chanute Air Force Base – Rantoul, Illinois
  • Naval Training Center Barracks – Great Lakes, Illinois

Servicemembers that worked or spent prolonged periods in these facilities did report developing mesothelioma or other lung complications. However, these allegations were never thoroughly proven. Mostly, this is due to the significant number of other carcinogens veterans encounter (even in outside occupations) which makes it difficult for them to pinpoint the exact cause of illness.

The mineral was found in a number of places like vehicle parts, pipes, firebrick, insulation, and clothing, among a range of other things. If you’re a veteran that served in the military in Illinois, give us a call. We can let you know if any facilities you’ve worked in had connections to asbestos.

Superfund Sites

There’s also a superfund site in Illinois known for containing asbestos. Superfund sites are contaminated areas the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finds and classifies. They use money from the Superfund (money put in place by the government for toxic sites) to clean the area when the company or responsible party can’t be found.

One Superfund site in Illinois is the former Johns-Manville site. This area had over 3,000,000 cubic yards of wastewater polluted with asbestos and other toxic chemicals. There’s a high chance of encountering asbestos fibers in the area around it. The area surrounds Lake Michigan and is nearby Illinois Beach State Park.

Another major Superfund site is in Havana, Illinois. In 2019, the EPA began asbestos cleanup at the Crescent Forge and Shovel site. This was a steel facility that was operational for over 100 years until 2008. When the area was shut down, infrastructures on-site were improperly demolished, causing asbestos debris to spread around.


Laborers working in shipyards, demolition, renovation, construction, mining, pipe-fitting, plumbing, and manufacturing have the highest chance of asbestos contamination. Illinois is a very industrial state, meaning several places and occupations are at risk for contamination. Illinois’s power plants and oil refineries also used asbestos heavily in several building capacities.

Some places in Illinois known for asbestos litigation are:

  • Chicago O’Hare INTL. Airport Heating & Refrigeration – Chicago, Illinois
  • Illinois Power Company – Decatur, Illinois
  • Peoria Industrial Piping – Peoria, Illinois
  • North American Insurance Company – Rockford, Illinois

This is just four out of thousands of areas in Illinois that had issues with asbestos contamination. Hundreds of residential homes, hotels, schools, universities, and campus lodging around the state also contained excess levels of the toxin.  For example, the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana, had issues with the toxin in their residence halls.

If you’ve spent considerable time in the industrial or education workforce, give us a call. We have a much longer list of companies with related issues and can help you track down any potential asbestos exposure you may have encountered.

The Connection Between Illinois and Libby Asbestos Mines

Montana has a mining site in Libby that was linked to an enormous amount of asbestos pollution throughout the country. The area had a lot of vermiculite mixed with asbestos that was sent to several facilities, exposing workers and residents nearby.

A facility in Chicago was one of the receiving sites. The site processed over 273,000 tons of contaminated vermiculite from Libby and 372,000 tons total for the state of Illinois. Other involved facilities included ones in Girard, Peoria, Quincy, Buda, and Calumet City, to name a few.

Banning Asbestos

Some organizations fight to ban asbestos from being used as frequently as before.

In 1989, the EPA passed a partial ban on the development, distribution, and sale of some asbestos products. New uses for the mineral were also banned, further removing it from the marketplace.

In April 2019, the EPA passed the “Final Rule,” which demanded asbestos products that were no longer on the market to be banned from returning without a further determination from the agency. The EPA also monitors lingering uses of asbestos by assessing potential contamination issues and shutting everything down if the risk is too high.

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Illinois EPA Asbestos Unit

The EPA has a unit in Illinois to help guard the people and surrounding environment against exposure to asbestos. They’re also known as the Illinois EPA Asbestos Unit. They’re the delegated authority for regulating the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP).

The NESHAP policy holds business owners and operators accountable for submitting notifications and requesting approval for all asbestos-related demolition or renovation projects. Contractors must also be licensed and certified to remove asbestos and provide at least 10 working days’ notice before beginning any projects that may disturb asbestos fibers.

Legal Recourse for Illinois Victims

People who have developed mesothelioma or other asbestos-related conditions could be entitled to compensation from asbestos companies responsible for the exposure. Action against said companies usually has to be taken in a short period, depending on the state in which the claim is filed.

Reaching out to an experienced mesothelioma attorney would prove extremely helpful. They could efficiently navigate the complexities of filing a claim for your unique case and get you maximum benefits in a timely manner. Statute of limitations in Illinois?

Regulations for Filing a Claim in Illinois

There are multiple laws that Illinois has put in place regarding asbestos and mesothelioma claims. These laws determine how much proof is needed in legal cases for compensation for an asbestos illness.

Court Exposure Standard

Each state has different regulations and standards in regard to asbestos cases. This defines the guidelines that personal injury plaintiffs must follow to prove the asbestos companies liable in court.

A standard method for determining liability is the Lohrmann test, which involves the plaintiff proving that the defendant’s product was a significant cause in their exposure. The test observes the worker’s recurrence and proximity to asbestos at the job site, and Illinois applies this standard for all cases that take place in the state.

A person filing an asbestos claim in Illinois is likely to be denied if they can only prove minimal contact.

Statute of Limitations and Mesothelioma Latency Period

This policy determines the amount of time a patient has to file an asbestos lawsuit before it becomes time-barred in court. This can be anywhere between 5 and 50 years and differs from state to state. A short latency period can cause issues for mesothelioma victims due to how long the disease takes to develop.

For Illinois patients, the statute of limitations does not start until an official mesothelioma diagnosis, due to the state discovery rule. This rule holds that the plaintiff could not take action against something they were unaware of. There’s also a two-year statute of limitations for wrongful death suits, or claims filed by the surviving family member of a mesothelioma victim.

Asbestos Disclosure in Home Sales

Illinois law states that home-sellers must disclose the presence of dangerous amounts of asbestos in the home. Damage or contamination to the residence’s doors, floors, or windows must also be reported. Elaborate

Illinois Mesothelioma Treatment Centers

Visiting a specialized treatment center is essential if you receive a mesothelioma diagnosis and need treatment and care. These centers have doctors with extensive experience with cancers such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, colon cancer, and others, offering you the best care available.

Illinois Centers

Indiana Centers

Iowa Centers

Missouri Centers

Wisconsin Centers

What Should I Do Next?

The state of Illinois has taken steps toward regulating the use of asbestos and keeping residents safe from exposure. If you’ve been exposed to asbestos while on the job, odds are the employer is responsible and you deserve compensation. The Illinois Small Business Environmental Assistance Program offers free assistance to business owners and operators in understanding their environmental requirements, as the Clean Air Act states.

For more information, you can contact the Environmental Assistance Helpline at (800) 252-3998, or reach out to your Illinois regional office.

Illinois Regional Office HQ
1021 North Grand Avenue East
P.O. Box 19276
Main #: (217) 782 3397

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