More miners diagnosed with rare lung illness

Iron Range newsThe Minnesota Department of Health announced yesterday that 21 more cases of mesothelioma in former Iron Range miners were diagnosed, bringing the region’s total to 101.

The Duluth News Tribune, among others, has the story this morning.

The news is significant because a major study by the University of Minnesota recently concluded with uncertain results, indicating that there was a higher incidence of this rare lung disease on the Iron Range, but that it was difficult to determine whether it was mining or other environmental factors caused this phenomenon.

The 21 new cases were all former iron miners, which provides another clue that fine particles released in the processing of taconite or found in the plants themselves could be factors in this debilitating lung disease.

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