ST. PAUL, MINN. – For Iron Rangers interested in hearing the results of the Taconite Workers Health Study, a public meeting is planned for Monday, Dec. 1 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Hibbing Memorial Building located at 400 E. 23rd Street in Hibbing. The study was formed to determine if there was an excess of mesothelioma in taconite workers discovered by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that affects the membrane lining of the lungs and abdomen. Malignant mesothelioma is the most serious of all asbestos-related diseases. However, it may take 20 to 30 years to manifest itself, so determining the root cause is very difficult. MDH commissioned several studies conducted by University of Minnesota researchers to find and address the growing concerns from both citizens and legislators representing the Iron Range. Sen. David Tomassoni (DFL-Chisholm) is one of those concerned legislators who will attend the Dec. 1 meeting.
“Considering how taconite mining has been a way of life for so many in our community, finding out if there is a more severe risk here is important. We provided $4.9 million to the U of M to find out exactly what’s going on. I’m glad these studies were commissioned and I look forward to learning more. I encourage anyone in the community who is interested in the results of the study to attend the presentation,” said Sen. Tomassoni.
According to the U of M presenters, the first 45 minutes of the meeting will be a research presentation, followed by 45 minutes of question and answer. The overall objective of the study was to determine whether dust-related lung disease, including mesothelioma, lung cancer and non-malignant respiratory disease, might be related to working in the taconite industry.