Iowa is the 30th ranked state in population, with approximately 3 million residents. Once considered a farming state, Iowa has developed a strong manufacturing industry base with 16% of its workforce employed in the manufacturing sector. This sector includes the manufacturing of heavy machinery, chemicals, electrical equipment and food processing.

What is not well-known is that Iowa has always been among the forefront in civil rights among all the states of the Union. In 1839, the Iowa Supreme Court rejected slavery in a decision that found that a slave named Ralph became a free man once he crossed Iowa borders. In 1851, Iowa eliminated racial barriers to marriage, more than 100 years before the Supreme Court of the United States would ban anti-miscegenation statutes in 1967. Also, the Iowa Supreme Court in 1868, held that “separate but equal” schools were invalid under the Iowa State Constitution, a full 85 years before the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

What is also not well-known is that many Iowans have been exposed to asbestos dust, which causes fatal diseases years later. Thus, Iowa has not been immune from the scourge of asbestos-related disease among its workers who have been exposed to asbestos in a variety of industries, including construction, drywall joint compound plastering, brake and clutch work and industrial job sites such as power plants. Every worker with an occupational exposure to asbestos, no matter how brief, is at an increased risk of developing malignant mesothelioma.


Below is a list of occupations that put Iowa workers at a known risk of asbestos exposure. If you worked in one of these occupations in the 1980s or earlier, there is a good chance that you were exposed to asbestos:

  • Automobile mechanics
  • Boilermakers
  • Chemical Plant Workers
  • Construction Workers
  • Electricians
  • Foundry Workers
  • Industrial Plant Workers
  • Insulators
  • Miners
  • Pipefitters
  • Plasterers
  • Power Plant Workers
  • Railroad Workers
  • Sheetmetal Workers
  • U.S. Navy Veterans


The following is a list of some of the Iowa job sites where there is documented use of asbestos products. If you or a family member worked at one of these places, you may be at a heightened risk of asbestos disease.

If you believe that you may have been exposed to asbestos at your own job, please contact a mesothelioma attorney for more information. There are many other job sites in Iowa where asbestos was used.

Manufacturing Plants

  • American Herbicide Plant, Dubuque, IA
  • American Herbicide Plant, Muscatine, IA
  • Armstrong Rubber Manufacturing Co., Des Moines, IA
  • Brown Paper Co., Fort Madison, IA
  • Caterpillar Tractor Co., Inc. – New Parts Plant, Mount Joy, IA
  • Cedar Falls Paper Manufacturing Co., Cedar Falls, IA
  • Certain-Teed Products, Co., Fort Dodge, IA
  • Chevron Chemical Co., Fort Madison, IA
  • Chevron Chemical Co., Council Bluffs, IA
  • Clinton Corn Processing Co., Div. of Standard Brands Inc., Clinton, IA
  • Davenport Glucose Manufacturing Co., Davenport, IA
  • Dubuque Steam Supply Co., Dubuque, IA
  • Firestone Tire and Rubber Co., Des Moines, IA
  • Glucose Sugar Refining Co., Davenport, IA
  • Hawkeye Chemical Plant, Clinton, IA
  • Iowa Portland Cement Co., Des Moines, IA
  • Lehigh Portland Cement Co., Madison, IA
  • Marquette Cement Manufacturing Co., Des Moines, IA
  • Marshall Sugar Refining Co., Marshalltown, IA
  • Monsanto Chemical Company, Muscatine, IA
  • Phillips Chemical, Fort Madison, IA
  • Proctor & Gamble Plant, Iowa City, IA
  • Swift & Company – Agrichem Division, Mason County, IA

Power Stations

  • Arnold Electric Power Station Co., Oilivein, IA
  • Barnes Electric Light and Power Co., Maquaketa, IA
  • Beaver Channel Powerhouse, Clinton, IA
  • Chicago Great Western Railway, Oelwein, IA
  • Davenport Gas and Electric Co., Davenport, IA
  • Des Moines Power Station No. 2, Des Moines, IA
  • Fort Dodge Gas and Electric Co., Fort Dodge, IA
  • George Neal Power Station – Unit #1, Sioux City, IA
  • Iowa City Light and Power Co., Iowa City, IA
  • Iowa River Light and Power Co., Eldora, IA
  • Maquoketa Light and Power Co., Maquoketa, IA
  • Peoples Gas and Electric Co., Mercy, IA
  • Port Neal Power  Plant, Sioux City, IA
  • Riverside Power Station, Iowana, IA
  • Sioux City Gas and Electric Co., Sioux City, IA
  • Waterloo Gas and Electric Co., Waterloo, IA


  • Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad System, Fort Madison, IA
  • Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Co., Shopton, IA
  • Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway System, Shopton, IA
  • Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway and Light Co., Cedar Rapids, IA
  • Chicago Rock Island and Pacific Railway Co., Manly, IA
  • Des Moines City Railway Co., DesMoines, IA
  • Iowa and Illinois Railway Co., Clinton, IA
  • Mason City Clear Lake Railway Co., Emery, IA
  • Penn Dixie Cement Corp. Des Moines, IA
  • Waterloo Cedar Falls Northern Railway Co., Waterloo, IA

Other Industries

  • Aer-Vac Ind. Mason City, IA
  • Grain Processing Corp.
  • J.I. Case Company, Bettendorf, IA
  • John Deere Des Moines Works, Des Moines, IA
  • John Deere Ottumwa Works, Ottumwa, IA
  • Oliver Corp., Charles City, IA


The high levels of asbestos used in Iowa industries have taken their toll on the health of Iowa workers. Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer of the lining of the lungs and abdomen, which is caused by asbestos exposure.

Like other asbestos disease, mesothelioma has a long latency period. This means that a person usually develops mesothelioma long after the initial exposure to asbestos — usually between 10 and 50 years later. Due to this latency period, the number of Iowa mesothelioma deaths continues to rise even though asbestos is seldom used in Iowa today.

According to the Environmental Working Group, Iowa has the 25th highest rate of asbestos disease in the country as of 2002. Between 1979 to 2001, at least 758 people from Iowa died of mesothelioma or asbestosis. According to the Center for Disease Control, from 1999 to 2004, at least 151 people died from mesothelioma in Iowa.


As a result, workers in all these industries were exposed to significant amounts of asbestos dust until the mid to late 1970s and sometimes into the 1980s. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and you believe you were exposed to asbestos in Iowa, please contact one of our mesothelioma lawyers. We can help you investigate the source of your exposure, and determine what companies were responsible.