Posts Tagged ‘iron range’

Asbestos fibers discovered at proposed iron ore mine site in Wisconsin

8 Oct 2013 by Wendi Lewis under News

Gogebic Taconite GTAC Fox 11 news 100x100 Asbestos fibers discovered at proposed iron ore mine site in WisconsinThe Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced Monday that asbestos is present in a rock sample taken from the proposed site of an iron ore mine in Ashland and Iron counties. The asbestoform fibers were found in the mineral grunerite. Asbestos and asbestoform fibers present a danger to public health if they are inhaled or ingested, which may result in the development of . (more…)


Minnesota researchers continue to look for links between taconite and mesothelioma

19 Sep 2013 by Wendi Lewis under News, Research/Treatment

minnesota iron range 100x100 Minnesota researchers continue to look for links between taconite and mesotheliomaAfter nearly five years of study, researchers heading up the Minnesota Workers Health Study have determined that for every year worked in a mine, a person’s risk of developing increased by approximately three percent. However, scientists are still searching for definitive proof that exposure causes . (more…)


Researchers investigating mesothelioma risk in Wisconsin mining operation in Penokee Range

13 Aug 2013 by Wendi Lewis under News

Grunerite 100x100 Researchers investigating mesothelioma risk in Wisconsin mining operation in Penokee RangeAnother state is investigating the possible link between minerals mining and . The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is trying to determine if asbestos-like fibers could be released from iron ore mining or sampling in the Penokee Range. It involves a naturally occurring mineral called grunerite. Grunerite can appear in a fibrous crystal form. (more…)


Minnesota taconite mine study confirms link to mesothelioma

17 Apr 2013 by Wendi Lewis under News, Research/Treatment

minnesota iron range 100x100 Minnesota taconite mine study confirms link to mesotheliomaThe results of a five-year, $4.9-million study into the link between mining in Minnesota’s and provided a mixed bag of results. Scientists confirmed a definite link between the industry and an increased risk of , a deadly cancer that has previously been associated exclusively with asbestos exposure. But the study does not adequately answer the question of “why” or “how.” (more…)


Iron Range study finds four new cases of mesothelioma

2 Apr 2010 by Wendi Lewis under Events, News, Research/Treatment

This week the Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) alerted me through a link on their web site to an update in the ongoing study in Minnesota. We have been following this study, which is investigating the high incidence of among miners in that state. According to a report in the Duluth News Tribune, the study has identified four new cases of .

The five-year study is being directed by the and the Minnesota Department of Health, and funded by a $4.9 million grant from the Minnestoa state legislature. The new cases bring the total number of former miners diagnosed with to 63.

has traditionally been linked exclusively to asbestos. However, an investigation into the link between mining – which takes place in what is known as Minnesota’s , – began when state health officials noted an unusually high incidence of occurring in mine workers. occurs at twice the expected rate in the .

As part of the study, researchers are screening workers and their immediate families. To date, they have interviewed about 1,000 people, and would like to double that number.

is an iron-bearing, flint-like rock. Processed pellets are used in the steel making industry.  To process , the ore is ground into a fine powder, the iron is separated from the waste rock using strong magnets and the powdered iron concentrate is combined with bentonite clay and limestone and rolled into pellets. The Mesabi region of Minnesota is a major production area.

More information is available at the project’s official web site for Minnesota Taconite Workers Health Study.

Pictured above are processed pellets. Source: Wikipedia


Minnesota study of Iron Range workers continues

22 Jan 2010 by Wendi Lewis under News, Research/Treatment

minnesota iron range 100x100 Minnesota study of Iron Range workers continuesA recent report on WDIO-DT and WIRT-DT ABC stations 10 and 13 says approximately 1,000 miners and their families have been screened as part of an ongoing study into the link between mining and . The study is being directed by the and the Minnesota Department of Health, and funded by the Minnesota State Legislature, which allocated $4.9 million to the project in April 2008.

An investigation into the link between mining – which takes place in what is known as Minnesota’s – began when state health officials noted an unusually high incidence of occurring in mine workers. is traditionally linked only to asbestos exposure. There is a theory that the mineral may contain similar fibers to asbestos mineral.

Researchers began screening workers and their immediate family members in July. According to the news report, researchers say the study is on track. They would like to see about another 1,000 people, however. Analysis of the respiratory is estimated to take another 18 months.

This screening is one part of the comprehensive five-year study. There are four health studies associated with the project, including a mortality study under the direction of the Minnesota Department of Health and related to miner deaths; a cancer rate incidence study; a respiratory health assessment for miners or former miners (and expanded to include spouses or other close family that may have had secondary exposure to dust), and an occupational exposure study.


Minnesota mesothelioma study calls for more participants

3 Oct 2009 by Wendi Lewis under News

university of minnesota 100x100 Minnesota mesothelioma study calls for more participants researchers made a call in mid-September for more participants in its study of a possible link between mines and . The five-year reserach program received $4.9 million in funding from the Minnesota state legislature in April 2008, and is being directed by the university in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health.

The study was conceived as a result of an unusually high incidence of in mine workers. is currently linked exclusively to asbestos exposure. To day, more than 58 mine workers have been diagnosed with .

In July, researchers began health screenings of former workers and their families. To date, a little more than 100 people have participated in the screenings, although reserachers hope to examine around 1,200 people during the course of the study.

The call for more participants apparently raised some concerns among area residents about the program’s success. However, a report by KQDS Fox 21 News assures the public that the study is progressing as planned, and that the call for more participants is a natural part of the process.

The news report quotes Nancy Tekautz, who is a field supervisor for the workers respiratory health study, as saying her clinic is nearly booked. “We believe the response has been very good and we just want to encourage it to continue,” she told KQDS.

KXMB News reports study director Dr. Jeffrey Mandel has sent about 300 letters to a random sampling of current and former workers, asking them to participate in the study. Participants will provide a medical and occupational history and submit to simple medical tests.

Researchers assure miners and their families that all study participants and individual medical information will remain confidential. For more information, visit the Minnesota Workers Health Study web site, or call the toll free at 1-888-840-7590.


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 research project in Minnesota, which is examining the possible link between mining and . 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 in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health.

This week, university researchers announced they are ready to begin recruiting current and former workers on Minnesota’s , 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 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 miners die from 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.

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


Minnesota researchers ‘making progress’ in mesothelioma study

19 Dec 2008 by Wendi Lewis under News, Research/Treatment

Researchers studying an unusually high incidence of among miners and their families reported they are “making progress” as five-year program gets underway, according to the Star Tribune, which serves Minneapolis and St. Paul. The $4.9 million research program was funded by the Minnesota state legislature in April.

The program is being directed by the . Researchers held an open meeting yesterday evening to share initial results. The program, which involves health screenings for residents of the , particularly mine workers and their families, began in Summer 2007, but got a boost when the legislature approved the funding to expand the study significantly. The funding established the Minnesota Taconite Workers Lung Health Partnership task force.

The Star Tribune reports that the program will expand in 2009 to include a respiratory health assessment of 1,200 active and retired miners, as well as 800 spouses or partners. Participants will be selected at random. Physical testing will be handled by the Virginia Regional Medical Center, and testing is exected to run for a period of about 6-9 months.

While is almost exclusively associated with asbestos, researchers are investigating whether or not there is a link between dust – which is produced in the mining process – and . To date 58 deaths have been linked to the .

According to the Star Tribune report, there are four ongoing health studies associated with this project: a mortality 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; and an occupational exposure study. In addition, the paper reports two environmental studies are part of the process as well, under the direction of the Natural Resources and Research Institute the Duluth. These will examine sediments in lake bottoms as well as airborne particle measurements.


Update on Minnesota mesothelioma study set for tonight

18 Dec 2008 by Wendi Lewis under Events, News, Research/Treatment

Researchers who have begun a five-year, $4.9 million study into an alarming number of cases in Minnesota will present a progress report tonight at the Mountain Iron Community Center. The study, which is operating under the direction of the School of Public Health, focuses in particular on miners. The Minnesota legislature approved funds for the research project in April.

The study is the result of concern about a high rate of among workers, with 59 identified cases to date. According to a report in the Duluth News Tribune, initial data indicates 17 miners who developed between 1988 and 1996. Then, in 2007, it was revealed that the Minnesota Department of Health had additional information about 35 more cases of among the mine workers.

is thought to be caused exclusively by exposure to asbestos, but the Minnesota study is examining the possibility of a link between exposure to the dust released in the mines, and . According to the News Tribune, researchers are conducting health screenings for miners and their spouses. They hope to screen about 2,000 people within six to nine months.

Tonight’s program will share initial findings and inform the public about the progress of health screenings, and opportunities for involvement in the screenings. It also will feature a presentation about the geological aspects of the mine area.

If you’d like to attend, the meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Mountain Iron Community Center, at 8586 Enterprise Drive. The presentation should last about an hour.