Iron Range mesothelioma study advancing

Quoted from http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/article/id/233103/

Iron Range mesothelioma study advancing

A comprehensive study on why so many Iron Rangers are dying of a rare lung disease is entering its final data-crunching stages with some results expected later this year.

By: John Myers, Duluth News Tribune

  • Taconite plant
  • image

    Smoke rises out of the stacks at United Taconite in Forbes. A study is under way that delves into health problems of people who worked in the taconite industry. (2007 file / News Tribune)

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A comprehensive study on why so many Iron Rangers are dying of a rare lung disease is entering its final data-crunching stages with some results expected later this year.

But in an update provided Thursday, key researchers confided that they may never find a link between a high rate of fatal mesothelioma and the taconite iron ore industry — that the high rate of mesothelioma deaths among Rangers may have been caused by exposure long ago and far away.

“That’s one of the possibilities. It could be we don’t see any relationship to the workplace,” said Jeff Mandel, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and the lead researcher in the study.

But researchers in the nearly $5 million Minnesota Taconite Workers Health Study quickly added that they haven’t reached that conclusion yet and are still working to see where and how Rangers may have been exposed to asbestos or asbestos-like fibers that are the only known cause of always-fatal mesothelioma.

Thursday, researchers revealed that the study already has confirmed a

300 percent higher rate of mesothelioma on the Iron Range than the general population in Minnesota.

[Article continues at original source]

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