Although University of Minnesota researchers concluded that it is generally safe to work in a taconite environment, the risk of developing mesothelioma is still higher than for the general population.
The Taconite Workers Health Study conducted by the university’s School of Public Health was commissioned by the Minnesota Legislature for $4.9 million in 2008 to find out if workers who are being exposed to dust during taconite operations are susceptible to mesothelioma.
With at least 82 Iron Range residents who have reportedly died from mesothelioma, the researchers have confirmed that there is indeed a link between high rates of mesothelioma and taconite dust exposure among Iron Range workers. Researchers found few amounts of asbestos-size mineral fibers, the substance that is typically associated with causing mesothelioma, but did find “elongated mineral particles,” or EMPs, in their study.
Dr. Jeff Mandel, the study’s lead researcher, said they have yet to find out why the dust from taconite operations causes mesothelioma or if it is the primary cause of this increased risk.
Unfortunately, many people are unnecessarily and negligently exposed to asbestos, another substance known to cause the fatal disease mesothelioma. If this has happened to you, call 800-781-3955 to find out what your potential legal options are.