Mesothelioma Death Toll in Iron Range Area of Minnesota Rises

According to a recent new story from the Associated Press, the number of deaths in the Iron Range region of Minnesota attributed to mesothelioma has risen to 82, up from 63 reported by state health officials just last year. Health officials say they discovered the additional mesothelioma deaths by checking death records in other states for former Iron Range residents who had moved out of Minnesota.

According to Dr. Jeffrey Mandel, the lead researcher on the state health study of area workers at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, a “back-of-the-envelope” analysis shows that mesothelioma rates are higher than they should be in the area. Thus far, it is still unclear where the victims were exposed to asbestos.

The “Iron Range” is an area in the northeastern region of Minnesota with multiple distinct bands of iron ore. Interestingly enough, state health officials have found that a large number of mesothelioma cases seem to stem from the region, though there are no local asbestos mines. Early reports on the elevated number of mesothelioma deaths suggest that the exposure may have came from workers who dealt with commercial asbestos, such as pipe insulation, furnaces and boilers.

Though rare, mesothelioma is a deadly cancer of the lining of the lung caused by asbestos exposure. The cancer does not manifest until decades after a patient’s initial exposure, which can make the disease’s case somewhat difficult to pinpoint, though it can usually be connected to occupational exposure, second hand exposure through a family member, or even exposure through working in a building that had asbestos in it.

Also, because mesothelioma tends to have symptoms of other, more common diseases such as the flu or bronchitis, mesothelioma tends to be misdiagnosed, or not properly diagnosed until it is in its later stages.

Article source: http://www.mesotheliomanews.com/2011/10/19/mesothelioma-death-toll-in-iron-range-area-of-minnesota-rises/

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