nebraska

Asbestos in Nebraska

As a primarily rural ranching state, Nebraska's residents face few industrial asbestos exposure threats. Additionally, no deposits of naturally occurring asbestos are present in the state, further reducing the potential for asbestos exposure in Nebraska.

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Mesothelioma and Asbestosis Deaths, 1999-2013

231

Mesothelioma Deaths

37

Asbestosis Deaths

268

Total Deaths
36th

ranking in U.S. for mesothelioma & asbestosis deaths

Small manufacturing industries and power plants make up the greatest portion of Nebraska’s exposure threats. Workers whose responsibilities included repairing or operating high-heat machinery may have inhaled the fibers, which were used as insulation at these factories. One workplace where workers were exposed was Nebraska’s former W.R. Grace vermiculite plant, where contaminated vermiculite ore was processed for use in insulation, construction and gardening materials.

Treatment Centers near Nebraska

University of Colorado Cancer Center

University of Colorado Cancer Center

1665 Aurora Court, Aurora, CO 80045
Mayo Clinic Minnesota

Mayo Clinic Minnesota

200 First Street SW Rochester, MN 55905
Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center

Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center

1 Barnes Jewish Hospital Plaza St Louis, MO 63110
Froedtert Hospital

Froedtert Hospital and Medical College of Wisconsin

9200 W Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53226
Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute

Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute

4018 W. Capitol Ave. Little Rock, AR 72205
UT Southwestern Medical Center

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

5323 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, TX 75390

Doctors in Nebraska

Jason M. Foster
Jason M. Foster
Surgical Oncology View Profile
Brian W. Loggie
Brian W. Loggie
Surgical Oncology View Profile
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Jobsites at Risk

Part of Nebraska's power generating network, Sheldon Station and its Mark T. Moor Substation are coal-based power plants where asbestos was used. Currently, the boilers at Sheldon Station can generate up to 225 megawatts of electricity. These boilers, as with many other boilers used in factories before the 1980s, were likely insulated with asbestos.

Western Mineral Products, founded in the 1940s in Omaha, Nebraska, was a manufacturer of insulation and concrete aggregate. Its products were primarily made with contaminated vermiculite from Libby, Montana. From 1967 until its closing in 1989, the facility processed more than 165,000 tons of Libby vermiculite. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry evaluated the area and stated that there is now little or no risk of asbestos exposure from the site. However, past employees of Western Mineral Products were exposed while working.

Flood-Related Exposure

In 2011, the Missouri river flooded, swamping areas of Nebraska such as Omaha and Council Bluffs. Many homes and offices were ruined by the floodwaters, and contaminated home construction materials may have been exposed during the disaster. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services directs property owners to properly dispose of all asbestos-contaminated flood debris at a designated landfill.

Due to excessive flood damage, homeowners may consider demolishing unsalvageable buildings, but the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (NDHHS) requires an asbestos inspection before any renovations are performed. Buildings that the flood made structurally unstable may be demolished without an inspection, but appropriate permits and notifications must be completed.

Asbestos Regulations in Nebraska

In addition to federal regulations on asbestos removal and disposal, Nebraska's Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has enacted some state-specific regulations. These laws apply to almost every business or individual involved in an asbestos project in the state of Nebraska.

State regulations require all asbestos-related projects to be reported to the DHHS before they begin. The department outlines training and licensing requirements for asbestos work, as well as the proper safety practices for inspection, removal, encapsulation and demolition projects. These rules require workers to seal asbestos materials, wear protective gear and minimize debris. After asbestos materials have been removed, the DHHS also requires taking air samples to ensure that no airborne fibers are present.

Penalties for Asbestos Offenses

Failure to meet the state and federal requirements for asbestos work can result in hefty fines and imprisonment for repeat offenders. The cost of these fines is determined in a civil action brought before the attorney general in the county where the violation occurred.

The DHHS can fine businesses or individuals that engage in an asbestos project without a valid license between $5,000 and $25,000 for the first offense, and $25,000 to $100,000 for each subsequent offense. It also can issue civil penalties between $1,000 and $25,000 to businesses that violate the Asbestos Control Act.

A repeat offender already cited for a civil penalty is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. For each subsequent offense, the offender will be guilty of a Class IV felony, which can result in a maximum of five years imprisonment, a $10,000 fine or both.

In 2013, a Falls City, Nebraska, company planning to demolish a building and construct a new motel was fined $25,000 for illegally disposing of asbestos. After paying an asbestos abatement firm to remove roofing materials from the building slated for demolition, Vision 20-20 Inc. illegally removed asbestos floor tiles to avoid paying for the $14,000 job.

Prosecutors said the company violated the federal Clean Water Act by failing to obtain a permit for asbestos disposal and later dumping the toxic materials into a ditch that led to the Missouri and Big Nemaha Rivers. A Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality spokesperson assured residents the site was cleaned properly and posed no danger of asbestos exposure.

Asbestos Lawsuits in Nebraska

In a 2007 case filed in the Supreme Court of Nebraska, a widow claimed her husband’s death from pleural mesothelioma was caused by workplace exposures to asbestos. The plaintiff’s husband, Joe Olivotto, worked for DeMarco Brothers Company from 1954 to 1980, where he completed construction and remodeling projects at various jobsites across the Midwest.

Asbestos materials were present in many of these jobsites, including a post office and numerous schools and hospitals. The trial court decided there was sufficient evidence that Olivotto’s cancer resulted from on-the-job exposures to asbestos, and ordered DeMarco to reimburse his wife for treatment expenses. She was awarded more than $113,000 to cover the cost of treatment, travel and lodging.

In 2012, five former railroad workers and the widow of a sixth filed a lawsuit against BNSF Railway, the second-largest freight railroad network in North America. The claims alleged the railway’s operations in Lincoln negligently exposed workers to asbestos.

The lawsuits state four of the claimants were exposed to asbestos while working as passenger and freight carmen in Omaha and in Lincoln shops, while the remaining two served as a boilermaker and a blacksmith. One claimant died of asbestos-related colon cancer in 2010, and the others developed asbestos-related lung disease. Details on the resolution of these lawsuits are scarce. A July 2012 Lincoln Journal Star news article reports BNSF was reviewing the cases and would respond through the legal process.

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Matt Mauney is an award-winning journalist with nearly a decade of professional writing experience. He joined Asbestos.com in 2016, and he spends much of his time reading, analyzing and reporting on mesothelioma research articles to ensure people in the mesothelioma community know the latest medical advancements. Prior to joining Asbestos.com, Matt was a reporter at the Orlando Sentinel.

  1. Government Statistics on Deaths Due to Asbestos-Related Diseases - Environmental Working Group. (2009) Retrieved from: http://www.ewg.org/research/maps/deaths-due-asbestos-related-diseases
  2. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry - Western Minerals Products. (2011) Retrieved from: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/asbestos/sites/national_map/fact_sheets/pdf/omahane-fs.pdf
  3. Former Western Minerals Products Employees Exposed to Asbestos - ATSDR. (Oct. 29, 2004) Retrieved from: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/asbestos/sites/media_announcements/omahane.html
  4. Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services - Environmental Health. (5 September 2009) Retrieved from: http://www.sos.state.ne.us/rules-and-regs/regsearch/Rules/Health_and_Human_Services_System/Title-178/Chapter-22.pdf
  5. Nebraska Public Power District - Sheldon Station. (2011) Retrieved from: http://www.nppd.com/about-us/power-plants-facilities/sheldon-station/
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. (2011). Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2008 [Data file]. Retrieved from CDC WONDER Online Database: http://wonder.cdc.gov/ucd-icd10.html
  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. (2015, January). Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2013 on CDC WONDER Online Database. Retrieved from http://wonder.cdc.gov/ucd-icd10.html
  8. Lloyd’s Asbestos Litigation Reporter. (2013, June 4). Asbestos Update: Nebraska Men Sued for Improper Dumping. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1NaXlyt
  9. Supreme Court of Nebraska. (2007, June 1). Romana I. Olivotto, Widow of Joe Olivotto, Appellee and Cross-appellant, v. DeMarco Brothers Company, Appellant and Cross-appellee. Retrieved from http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ne-supreme-court/1491428.html
  10. Piersol, R. (2012, July 12). More Asbestos Lawsuits Filed Against BNSF. Retrieved from http://journalstar.com/business/local/more-asbestos-lawsuits-filed-against-bnsf/article_5dd8522d-c38d-5d8e-845d-875996027fc8.html

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