- Associated Press - Monday, December 1, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Minnesota’s taconite workers face higher risks from a rare form of lung cancer called mesothelioma (mez-oh-thee-lee-OH’-muh) the longer they’ve worked in the industry or if they’ve had above-average exposures to certain kinds of dust.

That’s the final report from a six-year University of Minnesota study that assessed the risks to taconite workers from tiny, needle-like fibers called elongate mineral particles, or EMPs. Mesothelioma, a usually fatal cancer of the lung lining, is generally caused by exposure to airborne asbestos fibers.

Lawmakers commissioned the study after a spike in the cancer was found on the Iron Range in 2006.

Many of the key conclusions were in a preliminary report in April 2013, including that taconite workers had triple the death rate from mesothelioma than ordinary Minnesota residents.

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