Faricy Law Firm, P.A.
Free Consultation
Local 612-927-2590
Toll-free 800-410-5052

Research confirms that taconite workers have greater risk of lung cancer

Mesothelioma has developed in workers in the taconite industry at a rate three times that of the general population in Minnesota, but research from the University of Minnesota did not discover a specific cause among the 80 miners who have died from the disease.

Whatever the cause, working in the taconite mining and processing industry increases one risk of developing mesothelioma, a rare lung cancer that is associated with exposure to asbestos. Men, who worked in industries like shipbuilding, and construction, have developed lung cancers like mesothelioma, typically decades after the exposure.

Construction workers were often exposed to asbestos fibers from insulation, ceiling and floor tile, dry wall and plaster and roofing shingles. Miners have also frequently are exposed to asbestos, as the mineral occurs naturally and various ore extraction processes often produce large quantities of dust, which could be contaminated with asbestos fibers.

The U of M study found a strong correlation to working in the taconite industry, but was not able to determine if miners were exposed to asbestos in insulation and other products used in the mines, or if an asbestos-like fiber that is found in taconite mines with the ore could be the cause of the mesothelioma.

Because of this type of lung cancer has an extremely long development time; a worker may have been exposed to asbestos in the early 1980s and may not be diagnosed with any mesothelioma symptoms until 2010. This can make it difficult for those investigating the cause of the disease to draw firm conclusions as to the source of the disease.

The research found the occurrence of lung cancer was distributed across the Iron Range, but appeared to be limited to workers.

Source: Star Tribune, "U finds cancer risk grows with years on taconite job," Josephine Marcotty and David Shaffer, April 13, 2013

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information