Since 1988, at least 58 miners from Minnesota’s Iron Range have died of mesothelioma, reports Jessica Van Berkel in a two-part series in the Minnesota Daily. Workers from these taconite mines also report high rates of silicosis, which is caused by dust from quartz or crystalline silica.
The University of Minnesota has received $4.9 million to study the possible link between mesothelioma and dust from taconite mining. Researchers have found spotty records of exposures in the mines, and miners don’t receive the results of the twice-yearly exposure measurements by the Mine Safety and Health Administration. And MSHA hasn’t updated its exposure limits for respirable dust containing asbestos and silica to make it more protective.
In other news:
Epoch Times: The groups 9/11 Environmental Action and Beyond Ground Zero have released a survey of Ground Zero workers, many of whom report being chronically ill. They call for improved resources and oversight to address the health problems of those who toiled in the rubble after 9/11.
Occupational Health & Safety: On the 20th anniversary of a Phillips petroleum refinery explosion and fire that killed 23 and injured 314, the United Steelworkers noted that OSHA’s Process Safety Management standard hasn’t prevented similar tragedies.
Cold Truth: CDC has cautioned facilities that process pig brains to refrain from using compressed air to remove the brains from skulls, following an investigation that links the practice to debilitating neurological illness in several workers.
New York Times Room for Debate Blog: The incident of two pilots not noticing their plane overshooting its destination has focused attention once again on the question of whether pilots get enough sleep.
Institute of Medicine: The IOM advises the military to reduce the toll of tobacco-product use on soldiers and veterans by implementing comprehensive tobacco-control policies.