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Mesothelioma in Miners

Mesothelioma in Miners
Mesothelioma in Miners

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Mesothelioma is a very serious problem among miners. The men and women who worked in or near mines in the years before extensive asbestos safety regulations were implemented by MSHA (the Mine Safety and Health Administration) may have been exposed to toxic levels of asbestos, the mineral that is the primary and thus far only identified cause of mesothelioma.

Asbestos Exposure in Mines

Those who worked in asbestos mines were at an especially high risk of developing mesothelioma, but workers in other types of mines were also at risk of asbestos exposure ─ because asbestos was used in mining equipment parts such as furnaces and heavy machinery brake linings. For example, the Minnesota Cancer Surveillance System reported that the mesothelioma rate among the men in a northeastern region of the state where iron is mined was over 70% greater than the statewide average for the years 1988 to 1994.

Thousands of Miners May Be Affected

In fact, since the 1980s, there have been thousands of new cases of mesothelioma diagnosed in the United States and around the world. Many mesothelioma victims are former miners who spent years on the job, often from the 1940s on. Mesothelioma generally takes decades to manifest; the symptoms don't appear until 10 to 50 years after the start of asbestos exposure.

Mesothelioma Linked to Asbestos

Mesothelioma begins when asbestos is mined, manipulated, processed, or removed. When asbestos is disturbed, the microscopic asbestos fibers are released into the air, where they can remain suspended for hours, even days. Miners in the area may inhale the fibers without even being aware that they are doing so.

The fibers, once inhaled, can become lodged in the lungs, the mesothelium (the membrane that lines the chest cavity), and other internal organs. Once embedded, the fibers begin a disease process that can result in asbestosis, lung cancer, or mesothelioma, an incurable cancer with a very limited life expectancy.

Miners in the U.S.

There are more than 14,000 mines in the U.S., and over the last hundred years, hundreds of thousands of individuals have spent years of their lives bringing us the minerals and metals that are crucial to the American economy and way of life. These miners should not spend the latter years of their lives suffering with the devastation caused by mesothelioma, a disease that may well have been caused directly by their service in the mines.

Contact Us To Learn More

If you or your loved one worked in a mine and subsequently developed mesothelioma, it’s important to understand there is help out there. Contact us today to learn more about the resources available to you.

Mesothelioma in Miners

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