The Minnesota Miner Asbestos Issue – Tragedy and Potential Cover-Up
You’ve been swamped with stories about asbestos exposure and the resulting conditions that formulate inside the respiratory systems of patients, including mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer and other horrible maladies. However, sometimes it’s best to wrap your mind around an issue by taking a look at it through a more personalized approach. That’s what the asbestos lawyers at Williams Kherkher would like to provide below with a look at the Minnesota miners and their tragic story.
For many years, there has been an Iron Range in Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota that serves as one of the main employers in the little town. It’s a classic Midwest setting, and the majority of the men who’ve remained employed over the years have worked for the local mine in some capacity. Generally, there were few problems that were reported, aside from the occasional injury that’s always a part of such a potentially hazardous occupation.
In recent years, more and more mine workers, past and present, began to fall ill. All of them presented the same types of symptoms: shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pains and other symptoms that would normally point to a common cold or a respiratory infection that can be cured with strong medication.
However, these workers never seemed to get better, and many of them got worse. Eventually, it was discovered that these workers, 35 in all as of this writing, were not suffering from a cold or virus – they were stricken with mesothelioma, a terminal condition that can only be the result of asbestos exposure. All of the miners have since died.
The Alleged Cover-Up
The Minnesota Department of Health is at the center of this issue. There were several research projects ongoing during 2006, and one of them that fell under the purview of the MDH was the result of asbestos exposure in this mine. The allegation was that the MDH discovered the problem described above in March of 2006, and according to statements, the MDH planned to disclose this discovery.
However, no disclosure came until a year later, and ultimately the MDH admitted that they did not release the results because they needed time to plan additional studies and did not want to cause a panic among the 4,000 mine workers in Minnesota until they had those additional studies in place.
This is simply a terrible situation. No one knows how many victims could’ve enjoyed a better quality of life if they had that extra year for treatment, and no one will know for quite some time if any additional miners were exposed to asbestos to the point where mesothelioma will ultimately develop.
Regardless, this is just one of many tragic stories regarding this ongoing problem. If you have been exposed to asbestos and injured as a result, contact an asbestos lawyer at Williams Kherkher today to schedule an initial consultation.