Two Minnesota studies seek cause of rising cases of mesothelioma among state's taconite miners
Two studies out of Duluth, Minn., are currently investigating the cause of rising mesothelioma cases among the state's taconite industry workers. Weitz & Luxenberg's taconite environmental toxic tort lawyers are now accepting cases from taconite workers seeking financial compensation to cover medical bills and damages after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, a fatal asbestos-related cancer.
June 25, 2009 – With rising incidences of asbestos-related mesothelioma being recorded among taconite workers in Minnesota’s Iron Range district, a state university in Duluth launched a new study in tandem with a state health department investigation to determine the source of the outbreak.
The University of Minnesota is asking former and current taconite industry workers to participate in a major medical study to find out why so many taconite miners working the state’s Iron Range district have mesothelioma, a rare and fatal occupational disease that occurs after asbestos exposure.
University physicians and researchers will randomly select 1,200 current and former workers, as well as 800 spouses, to undergo medical exams that include health history questionnaires, breathing tests, X-rays and blood work. People selected for the survey will include workers of different ages, from different companies, and from different Iron Range locations.
Taconite mining, a dusty industry with asbestos hazards
Taconite is an iron-bearing, high-silica, flint-like rock. After World War II, when most of the high-grade iron ore in the United States had been mined out, the country turned to taconite as a new source of iron.
To process taconite, the ore is ground into a fine powder of taconite dust, and the iron is separated from waste rock by using strong magnets.
State government study
Concurrent with the university study, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) launched its own investigation to determine whether taconite fibers and dust can cause or exacerbate lung conditions such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. Both these diseases have long been associated with asbestos exposure and asbestos is reportedly quite common in the taconite mining and processing industry.
This will be the second study that the MDH has conducted. A 2003 study of taconite miners concluded that the most likely cause of 14 of the 17 cases of mesothelioma was contact with asbestos. Since the conclusion of that study, 35 additional cases of mesothelioma have been diagnosed.
Mesothelioma occurs at twice the expected rate in the region of Minnesota known as the Iron Range.
Weitz & Luxenberg – Champion to America’s working class
The personal injury law firm of Weitz & Luxenberg has protected the legal rights of workers for 25 years – longer than most law firms in the nation. And in that time the firm's mesothelioma lawyers have won several billion dollars in verdicts and settlements for its clients.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, and seek FREE legal guidance and answers to your concerns, please notify us through the communication form on this page. We will pursue your claim with vigilance to help you pay for medical bills, lost wages, and damages. There is no cost to you until we win a settlement or a verdict.