Wisconsin is well-known as “America’s Dairy land,” but Wisconsin is not exclusively agricultural or rural. The Badger State is also the home to manufacturing of all kinds, from paper mills to breweries to food processing to heavy equipment. Unfortunately, for much of the twentieth century, workers in these industries were routinely exposed to asbestos on the job.

Asbestos was used in a variety of ways in Wisconsin. Steel foundries, automobile parts manufacturing plants, and paper mills used asbestos throughout their facilities, from insulation on steam lines to gaskets and packing in equipment. Even Wisconsin’s famous beer makers used asbestos insulation in their manufacturing facilities.

In addition, asbestos was used as a raw material in a variety of products that were manufactured in Wisconsin. Automotive parts such as brakes, clutches, and gaskets were often made of asbestos, usually combined with a binding material. Raw asbestos fiber was even mixed into paper as a strengthening agent in the 1960s and 70s.

Asbestos was also a common ingredient in many construction materials, including cement, plaster, joint compound, siding, tiles, and even paint. Asbestos insulation was frequently used in both residential and commercial buildings to retain heat during Wisconsin’s long, cold winters. Many older buildings still contain the original asbestos materials, so that workers and residents may be at risk during remodeling or demolition.


Below is a list of occupations that put Wisconsin 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:

Aircraft Mechanics & Repairmen

  • Automobile Mechanics
  • Boilermakers
  • Brewery Workers
  • Chemical Plant Workers
  • Construction Workers
  • Electricians
  • Food Processing Workers
  • Foundry Workers
  • Insulators
  • Paper Mill Workers
  • Pipefitters
  • Plasterers
  • Power Plant Workers
  • Railroad Workers
  • Sheetmetal Workers
  • U.S. Navy Veterans
  • Welders


The use of asbestos products has been documented at hundreds of Wisconsin job sites, including the sites listed below. This is only a representative sample of the many job sites in Wisconsin where asbestos was used.

If you or a family member worked in one of these places, or if you believe that you may have been exposed to asbestos at your own job, please contact one of our mesothelioma attorneys for more information.

Automotive & Heavy Equipment

  • Allis Chalmers Mfg. Co.
  • American Motors
  • Aqua-Chem
  • Caterpillar Tractor Co.
  • Cleaver Brooks
  • Delphi Automotive
  • General Motors Assembly
  • International Harvester
  • Modern Equipment Co.
  • Wisconsin Motor Corp.

Food Processing & Breweries

  • Del Monte Corp.
  • Green Giant Co.
  • Kimberly-Clark Co.
  • Kraft Foods
  • National Biscuit Co.
  • Nestle USA
  • Oscar Meyer Co.
  • Pacific Coast Condensed Milk Co.
  • Schlitz Brewing Co.
  • Seneca Foods Corp.

Paper Mills

  • Appleton Paper Mills
  • Charmin Paper Co.
  • Consolidated Paper, Inc.
  • Georgia Pacific Corp.
  • International Paper
  • Kimberly Clark Co.
  • Mead Corp.
  • Nebraska Edwards Paper Co.
  • Nekoosa Edwards Paper Co.
  • Northern Paper Mills
  • Rhinelander Paper Co.
  • Scott Paper Mill
  • Wausau Monisee Paper
  • Wausau Paper Mills Co.
  • Weyerhauser Co.
  • Wisconsin Paper Co.

Other Industry

  • A.O. Smith Corp.
  • Armstrong Cork Co.
  • Beliot Corp.
  • Blain Supply Co.
  • Brillion Iron Works, Inc.
  • Bucyrus-Erie Company
  • Carnation Co.
  • Combined Locks Mill
  • Dairyland Power Coop
  • General Casting Corp.
  • Hardwood Products Co.
  • Kohler Co.
  • Ladish Co.
  • Nicolet Hardwoods
  • Northern Petro Chemical Corp.
  • Olin Mathieson Chemical Corp.
  • Paine Lumber Co.
  • Sheboygan Glass Co., Inc.
  • Standard Foundry Co.
  • Trane Co.
  • Wisconsin Power & Light


Due to the heavy use of asbestos by Wisconsin industry, the state suffers from a relatively high incidence of mesothelioma. In a study by the Centers for Disease Control, Wisconsin ranked 13 among the states with the highest mesothelioma death rates.

Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer of the lining of the lungs and abdomen, which is caused by asbestos exposure. It has a long latency period, so a person can develop mesothelioma up to 50 years after the initial exposure to asbestos. As a result, the number of mesothelioma deaths continues to rise even though asbestos is rarely used today.

According to the CDC, at least 388 Wisconsin residents died of mesothelioma in the years 1999 to 2005. Tragically, these high rates of disease are likely to continue well into the next decade.


Our firm has represented numerous clients who were diagnosed with mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos on the job in Wisconsin. We have decades of experience in the asbestos litigation, and we have the expertise you need to investigate the sources of your exposure, and determine what companies were responsible.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, and you believe you were exposed to asbestos in Wisconsin, we urge you to contact one of our lawyers for a free consultation. You should also be aware that it is important to act quickly if you are considering a lawsuit, because you have limited amount of time to file suit.