South Dakota


Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills, South Dakota

Located in the upper Midwest and landlocked on every border, South Dakota’s exposure to asbestos is predominantly au naturale. With several naturally-occurring asbestos deposits located in-state, the logical course of action was to use the homegrown substance in all industries that were in need of a strong, durable, and cheap fireproofing material. Consequently, once South Dakota began to openly mine for the hazardous fibers, two types of asbestos – amphibole and serpentine, were then used in a wide range of industries. These industries included power plants and hydroelectric plants, mechanical repair facilities and machine shops, and most importantly the construction industry.

Prior to the 1980s, buildings of all types – both private and public were constructed largely with the help of ACMs (asbestos containing materials). These ACMs could include anything from plaster to pipes, wallboards to electrical units. Virtually any part or component of a structure that needs to be protected from heat or fire is suspect for the use of asbestos. The more rigid, needle-like and essentially more harmful asbestos – of the amphibole variety were regularly used in turbines and generators. Aside from being used as a packing material, the naturally occurring substance was also turned into a spray that coated building materials and served as a layer of heat protection.

Not only did the hazardous fibers make its way into power plants and repair facilities but it was also heavily used in the most ordinary, mundane household objects such as clothing irons, ironing boards, toasters and potholders. The curly fibers were even used to make flame retardant pajamas and brake pads for automobiles.


Below is a list of occupations that put South Dakota 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:

  • Carpenters
  • Chemical Plant Workers
  • Chemical Technicians
  • Construction Workers
  • Drywall Tapers
  • Electric Power Linemen & Cable Men
  • Electricians
  • Furnace Men, Smelter-Men & Pourers
  • Heavy Equipment Mechanics
  • HVAC Workers
  • Industrial Plant Workers
  • Insulators
  • Machine Operators
  • Machinists
  • Miners
  • Molders
  • Painters
  • Pipefitters
  • Plasterers
  • Power Plant Workers
  • Roofers and Slaters
  • Sheetmetal Workers
  • Welders


The following is a list of some of the South Dakota jobsites where there is a 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 jobsites in South Dakota where asbestos was used.

Power Plants

  • Angus Anson Power Plant
  • Big Stone Power Plant
  • Pathfinder Power Plant
  • Black Hills Electric Co.
  • Consolidated Power and Light Co.
  • Custer Electric Light Heat and Power Co.
  • Sioux Falls Light and Power Co.
  • Watertown Light and Power Co.

Mining Industry

  • Ideal Mining Co.
  • Lucky Strike Mining Co.
  • Akron Milling Mining and Manufacturing Co.

Other Industry

  • Gurney Seed & Nursery Co.
  • University of South Dakota
  • Pillsbury Co.
  • John Morrell Co.


Due to a large amount of land and a small population, the population density of South Dakota is one of the lowest in the nation and therefore not as high as other states in terms of deaths related to asbestos exposure. In the 20 year time frame between 1979 and 1999, a total of 63 deaths were reported as asbestos related. Of those deaths, seven were due to asbestosis and the remaining 56 were a result of mesothelioma.

While asbestosis is a more frequently occurring disease out of the two, mesothelioma is far more aggressive, which explains why meso-related deaths outnumber those of asbestosis. Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer of the lining of the lungs and abdomen, which is caused by asbestos exposure.

Like other asbestos diseases, mesothelioma has a long latency period. This means that a person usually develops mesothelioma long after the initial exposure to asbestos – usually between 10 to 50 years later. However, once diagnosed, those suffering from mesothelioma will often pass within a year or two of diagnosis.


If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, and you believe you were exposed to asbestos in South Dakota, it is important that you contact a skilled attorney with experience in asbestos litigation. In addition, time is of the essence, because you have a limited amount of time to file suit.

We urge you to contact one of our mesothelioma lawyers for a free consultation. We can help you investigate the sources of your exposure, and determine what companies were responsible.