Cleveland-Cliffs has plans to study the incidence of mesothelioma in taconite miners at its facilities located in Babbitt and Silver Bay, back when they were owned by Reserve Mining in the 1950s. The Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency along with the University of Minnesota chose not to participate in these studies, opting instead to pursue a wider study of taconite miners across the Iron Range. It has never been determined if taconite dust could somehow be related to the increase of mesothelioma cases in the iron ore industry.
A specific inquiry in the Cleveland-Cliffs study will be to determine if there are any risks associated with the iron ore dust at the Peter Mitchell Mine in Babbit. This mine was the source of great environmental and legal focus in the past because of the discovery of asbestos-like fibers in Lake Superior after the former Reserve Mining Company had been dumping its taconite tailings into the water. The previous focus was solely on the lake, however, and not the lungs of the workers. Once the perceived risk of ingesting asbestos-like fibers was addressed, there was no more thought given to any other dangers that might be associated with these fibers. That is, until an increasing amount of iron workers began to develop mesothelioma – at least 58 taconite miners over the last half decade.
For more information, contact the Mesothelioma Lawyers at Williams Kherkher at 1.800.220.9341.