Home | Health | Four more cases of mesothelioma found as part of Iron Range Taconite Workers Health Study

Four more cases of mesothelioma found as part of Iron Range Taconite Workers Health Study

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Sixty-three former taconite mine workers in Minnesota diagnosed with job-related mesothelioma, including the recently identified cases.

Four more cases of mesothelioma among former taconite mine workers in Minnesota have been announced by the Minnesota Department of Health, bringing the total to 63. The new cases emerged as part of a statewide cancer surveillance study and the more targeted Taconite Workers Health Study.

The University of Minnesota launched the study of taconite miners in 2008 – several years after Minnesota health officials observed excessively high rates of mesothelioma among taconite mine workers. Taconite is a mineral relative of amosite asbestos. About 69,000 people worked in the state's iron mining industry between the 1930s and 1982.

The health department first documented the high occurrence of mesothelioma in Minnesota mine workers in 2003 beginning with 17 miners. The university began a random sampling of 1,200 former mine workers in summer 2009.

Mesothelioma is a rare, fatal form of cancer associated most often with  asbestos exposure. Health officials say it can take up to 50 years to develop mesothelioma following exposure to asbestos.

Along with investigating the high rate of mesothelioma among taconite workers, the Taconite Workers Health Study is also investigating the possible relationship between exposure to silica and asbestos with the development of lung, colon, pharyngeal, esophageal, laryngeal, and stomach cancers and non-cancerous respiratory illness.

The university is surveying the lung health of 800 spouses of miners as part of the study because they may have been exposed to dust brought home on workers' clothing. The research could expand even further – to environmental assessments of entire Iron Range communities in Northeast Minnesota. Airborne particulates in communities surrounding taconite operations are being sampled and measured and compared with those of other Northeast Minnesota towns. If preliminary results suggest a link between exposure to dust from taconite operations and disease, the community assessments will expand to more communities.

John R. Finnegan, Jr., dean of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, said the current focus of the study is on collecting and analyzing data, “but over the next couple of years, we look forward to sharing our results with the community as soon as they are available."

"It is important that we find answers to the many long-standing questions about the relationship between taconite mining and respiratory health," said Sanne Magnan, MD, Minnesota commissioner of health.

About 2,000 cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States each year, according to the National Cancer Institute. The disease is closely linked to miners and others exposed to asbestos.

Subscribe to comments feed Comments (7 posted):

The mine workers are the ones who are exposed to asbestos the most, asbestos that enters our body through any source acts as a carcinogen and harms the body. The mine workers thus are left with no other chance but to bear the brunt in some cases the family and the surrounding environments where the mine workers live are also affected. A way has to be thought about for the safety of the mine workers and their family before it's too late to handle the consequences.
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seo firm on 04/19/2010 00:43:54
I do research on mesothelioma.I am very thankful for this site for sharing very important information here on this single page.One of my friend is also suffering it so I want to know would surgery be better option compare to Radiation therapy? Please share some information of it.
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SmartLipo on 04/21/2010 03:27:05
However, increasing numbers of past iron range workers being diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma has given reason for additional research into the possible risk factor of taconite dust.Researchers expect more cases to be reported throughout the study as the latency period for mesothelioma development ranges between 20 and 50 years.
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m3 ds on 05/04/2010 06:52:25
I am very glad to have this information.Now a days Mesothelioma is becoming more and more common.As far as I know there are various treatments for mesothelioma, but still there is low success rate particularly on patients in whom the cancer is in its later stages.
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Ibiza holidays on 06/04/2010 06:59:35
Mesothelioma is a rare, fatal form of cancer seen almost exclusively in people who have been exposed to asbestos.The goal is to determine the relationship between working in the taconite industry and health issues, especially lung health.
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Laadukas Hakukoneoptimointi on 11/09/2010 12:07:31
Mesothelioma is terrible disease. It's so good that there are people and medical companies who tries to resolve the problem.
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payday loans on 01/26/2011 03:37:58
The Taconite mining has been part of Minnesota’s landscape for decades, providing a livelihood for thousands of people, on the Iron Range and the North Shore. But taconite mining appears to have another legacy, called mesothelioma.
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