Mining and Asbestos Dust

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral found underground. In order to use asbestos it had to be mined. Asbestos mining created large amounts of dust during. When asbestos is disturbed and dust is created, the sharp microscopic fibers can be breathed in and eventually cause mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma risk is not exclusive to asbestos miners, other types of mines can be contaminated with asbestos. If there is asbestos in the ground around other minerals, those miners are put at risk as well. The mining town of Libby, Montana is an example of this type of contamination.

Several types of mines have been known to cause health problems from asbestos dust:

  • Asbestos
  • Talc
  • Coal
  • Vermiculite

Miners and other workers are not the only people affected. If a mine is releasing asbestos dust into the air, the surrounding community can breathe in it as well. Some areas with large asbestos mines or other types of contaminated mines are known to have higher rates of mesothelioma.

Commercial Asbestos

Even miners who worked at uncontaminated mines have been at risk of developing mesothelioma because of the widespread use of asbestos products in industrial settings. Asbestos is found in many items like building insulation and any product that needs to be heat proof.

Researchers in Minnesota studied the effects of taconite mining on the worker’s health. They found that the taconite workers were more than twice as likely to die of mesothelioma than the general Minnesota population. One early study concluded that the mesothelioma cases were likely caused from the commercial asbestos used in industrial mining settings rather than dust from the mine.