Minnesota mesothelioma study to begin testing taconite miners

28 Jul 2009 by Wendi Lewis under News, Research/Treatment

minnesota iron range 100x100 Minnesota mesothelioma study to begin testing taconite minersLast year, we reported on the establishment of a mesothelioma research project in Minnesota, which is examining the possible link between taconite mining and mesothelioma. The five-year research program received $4.9 million in funding from the Minnesota state legislature in April 2008, and is being directed by the University of Minnesota in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health.

This week, university researchers announced they are ready to begin recruiting current and former taconite workers on Minnesota’s Iron Range, and their spouses, to participate in a screening program.

Preliminary research actually began in Summer 2007, but got a boost from the legislature’s funding, allowing the study to expand significantly. The funding established the Minnesota Taconite Workers Lung Health Partnership task force.

There are four health studies associated with the project:

  • a motality study under the direction of the Minnesota Department of Health related to miner deaths
  • a cancer rate incidence study
  • a respiratory health assessment for miners or former miners
  • an occupational exposure study

According to an update in the Star Tribune, which serves the Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul, “since last year, researchers have been collecting data they need to determine why Iron Range miners die from mesothelioma at higher rates than others.”

Researchers hope to recruit around 1,200 current and retired workers for the new screenings, plus about 800 of their spouses.

Mesothelioma has been linked exclusively to asbestos exposure, so this study seeks to determine what similarities may exist in the taconite mining industry and the taconite mineral that produce high incidences of mesothelioma among its workers.

2 Responses to “Minnesota mesothelioma study to begin testing taconite miners”

  1. H20Man1

    Thank you for sharing this information. I know people from the area that had moved away and not heard of the study.

  2. BeasleyAllen

    Hi!

    Thanks so much for your comment. I am glad this story was able to help
    you find some useful information. It's great to see the Minnesota state
    legislature supporting a program that could help so many of its
    citizens, and hopefully prevent future illness, suffering and death.
    Thank you again for your feedback!

    Sincerely,
    Wendi Lewis
    Beasley Allen