Iron Range mines suspected in cancer deaths
MPR reported Thursday that 36 new cases of a rare form of lung cancer were reported among miners in Minnesota's Iron Range, causing alarm for state health officials. Taconite dust is suspected to be responsible for the sharp increase in cases.
The cancer is called mesothelioma, and is usually associated with asbestos. Officials with the Department of Health plan to conduct a follow-up study after concluding one in 2003 with Minnesota state miners. They hope that this study will clear up questions that they have concerning the possible dangers of taconite dust.
Mining officials are also interested in the pending investigation, and Cleveland Cliffs mining spokesperson Dana Byrne said that it is in the company's best interest to discover the cause of the high levels of mesothelioma.
The Star Tribune also reported on the study, but focused more on the specific case of Susan Keplar, who's husband Lee died in 2004 at age 64 of mesothelioma. This was a more effective of personalizing the situation instead of simply jumping into the cold and dry facts of the case.
The story in the Star Tribune also indicated that 52 people had died from the disease while over 200 miners have filed for workman's compensation with claims of "lung ailments."