U of M to survey Iron Range for cancer study

Associated Press

EVELETH, Minn. — A random sample of current and former Iron Range taconite workers will soon receive letters inviting them to participate in a screening program for a rare lung disease.

University of Minnesota researchers are selecting 1,200 taconite workers and 800 of their spouses for a study to find out why so many Iron Rangers are dying from mesothelioma.

The letters will be mailed in mid-July and health screenings will begin this fall at the Virginia Regional Medical Center. Results of the screenings will be ready late in 2010. They will be shared with patients and their doctors, but won’t be public.

The study is intended to find out if there’s a link between taconite dust and mesothelioma, which is more commonly associated with exposure to commercial asbestos.

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