Recently, twenty-one new cases of mesothelioma have been diagnosed among Minnesota mine workers. The Minnesota Department of Health and the University of Minnesota have been studying a group of 69,000 workers since the late 1990’s. Since then, eighty cases had been previously found. These twenty-one affected individuals bring the total to 101.
Given the long latency period of mesothelioma, more workers are expected to be diagnosed with the deadly disease. Mesothelioma can take ten to seventy years to develop within an individual. The disease is often mistaken for other respiratory diseases by medical professionals, unless they have been made aware of a patient’s past asbestos exposure.
Miners are at risk for asbestos exposure on the job. Since asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral found within the earth, many miners can come to contact with the substance in their line of work. Before the substance was declared a hazard to human health in the 1970s, miners worked to remove asbestos from the earth so it could be worked into different construction materials and consumer goods. Individuals within U.S. cities where different mines were present have been known to carry an increased risk for mesothelioma.
If you or someone you love has worked as a miner, the risk for developing an asbestos-related disease, like mesothelioma, is high. Even family members of workers are susceptible to the disease, as workers brought home asbestos fibers on their clothes and skin. Alert your doctor to any past asbestos exposure, so they can monitor your health accurately.