Minnesotans in the Iron Range Dying of Mesothelioma

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The Iron Range is a part of Minnesota in the northeast region of the state that borders on Canada and Lake Superior and is rich with bands of iron ore.

Yet, many people in this beautiful area of the country are being diagnosed with mesothelioma, at a far greater rate in 2011 compared to previous reports, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

Mesothelioma lawyers have helped victims throughout the country, from the west coast to the east coast, deal with the effects of mesothelioma and the asbestos exposure that leads to the deadly diagnosis.

Often diagnosis comes decades later when a victim is in retirement; some fail to ever make the link between illness and exposure at work. Median survival time after diagnosis is about one year.

Health officials in Minnesota have reported that 63 people died of mesothelioma last year and another 19 have died in 2011. Death records checked in other states by former Iron Range residents who have since moved away has increased the number of cases.

The mesothelioma rate, experts believe, is higher than it should be. Researchers have been working since 2008 to try to find the link between the region and the deadly cancer.

Some believed early on that the asbestos came from workers who dealt with commercial asbestos, such as insulation and piping, furnaces and boilers. But some speculate that the asbestos came from taconite rock that was released during processing.

Lawmakers in 2008 approved a $4.9 million study to look into the issue and try to determine why so many people from that region are dying of the incurable cancer. Some results show that about 1,700 of the 46,000 workers who worked in that industry developed a form of lung cancer. It’s unclear what caused that cancer.

The five-part series includes an exposure assessment to determine where the asbestos came from, a mortality study to look at causes of death, a cancer study to see where cancer rates are higher, an environment study to look at what is in the air now and a respiratory health study of living taconite workers and their spouses.

Researchers will continue to figure out where the exposure came from and how to prevent future problems. But the number of mesothelioma cases is expected to soar as baby boomers hit the doors to retirement.

In many cases, military veterans are at high risk — particularly those who worked in shipyards, boiler rooms and other areas below deck, where asbestos was used in abundance because of its insulating and heat-resistant qualities. In other cases, contractors and subcontractors may be at fault for exposing workers to asbestos. Some of the nation’s largest mining and chemical corporations have lost million dollar court cases accusing them of hiding the risks of exposure faced by employees.

Mesothelioma can be particularly cruel because of the long wait and the fact that it often strikes a victim in retirement — robbing them and their family of too many good years.

The Ferraro Law Firm provides comprehensive legal services, includingmesothelioma legal help. Call 1-800-275-3332 for a free and confidential consultation. Offices in Miami, Washington, D.C., and New York City.

More Blog Entries:

President’s Plan Calls For Asbestos Removal From Schools in New York, Nationwide: October 4, 2011

Despite Obvious Risks, Canada Still Large Exporter of Asbestos: September 29, 2011

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