Public meeting scheduled to discuss findings of Minnesota taconite mine mesothelioma study

26 Mar 2013 by Wendi Lewis under Events, News, Research/Treatment

minnesota iron range 100x100 Public meeting scheduled to discuss findings of Minnesota taconite mine mesothelioma studyA public meeting has been scheduled for April 12, 2013, to discuss findings of the Minnesota Taconite Workers Health Study. The study was established to determine the causes of an unusually high number of cases of among mine workers.

The five-year research program was established in 2008 with $4.9 million in funding from the state legislature. The project is a cooperative research initiative of the University of School of Public Health, University of Medical School, and the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of -Duluth.

Preliminary research actually began in Summer 2007, but got a boost from the legislature’s funding, allowing the program to expand significantly. Components of the study include:

  • Occupational Exposure Assessment
  • Mortality (cause of death) Study
  • Incidence Studies
  • Respiratory Health Survey of Workers and Spouses
  • Environmental Study of Airborne Particulates

The link between and mining is particularly concerning, as previously was thought to be almost exclusively related to exposure to . is a variety of iron formation, an iron-bearing rock. Iron is layered in this rock with other minerals such as quartz or carbonate. The area of where is mined is known as the Iron Range.

According to its website, the Workers Health Study seeks to “determine the extent to which employment in the industry and exposure to dust from the industry affects the health of workers with specific emphasis on respiratory diseases and diseases associated with silica and asbestos exposure.” The study also examines the risk of secondary exposure to those associated with mine workers, such as spouses and family members.

The public meeting is presented by the University of School of Public Health and the Workers Lung Health Partnership. It will provide an update on research. The meeting is set for Friday, April 12, 2013, at 3 p.m. It will be held at the Mountain Iron Community Center, located at 8586 Enterprise Drive, S; Mountain Iron, MN. Additional information is available online.

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