January 12, 2015 – In a new study conducted by the University of Minnesota, Taconite miners in the Iron Range area of Minnesota were found to be three times more likely to contract mesothelioma than those who did not work in the iron mining industry.
One thousand three hundred and twenty-two miners and 496 spouses participated in the six year study that cost almost five million dollars to complete. Researchers concluded that each year the miners spent working in any one of the six iron mines in the area increased their chance of contracting the deadly cancer by three percent. Researchers also found that taconite miners had a higher rate of other lung cancers, in addition to a 30% chance of dying of heart disease.
Miners participating in the study had an x-ray of their lungs which revealed scarring from dust particles present in the mines. Their spouses showed no significant scarring on their x-rays.
Though the six mines on the Iron Range all met federal standards for air quality, the taconite dust was not taken into consideration when setting the safety standard. Taconite dust, also known as elongate mineral particle (EMP), was not considered a risk until 2006 when an increase in mesothelioma appeared among taconite miners. As a result, state lawmakers commissioned the University of Minnesota to conduct the Minnesota Taconite Workers Health Study.
Researchers involved in the study concluded that preventive measures can reduce the risks of exposure to taconite. Unfortunately for those who work in the taconite mining industry, avoiding the exposure to taconite fibers and dust is the only safe way to prevent the complications that arise from it. For those who must continue their exposure as part of their job, the study suggests wearing personal protective equipment such as masks, safety goggles, and protective outer coverings that can be removed before going home.
Another important finding of the study reveals that smoking doubles the risk for contracting lung cancer among mine workers and should be stopped to reduce the risk. Researchers also suggest that spouses of taconite miners be re-evaluated in the future to determine long term effects of second hand exposure. Mining will remain a prosperous industry for those on the Iron Range prompting researchers to suggest careful health monitoring and proactive prevention for taconite miners.
Philadelphia Asbestos Lawyers at Shein Law Provide Quality and Experienced Representation for Mesothelioma Victims
For almost four decades, the Philadelphia and New Jersey asbestos lawyers at Shein Law have been providing high quality and experienced representation to victims of mesothelioma. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed, or has died from mesothelioma, our dedicated and compassionate team of asbestos lawyers can help you claim compensation.
Call us at 1-877-SHIENLAW, or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are conveniently located in downtown Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey.