Researchers around the country have noted higher rates of mesothelioma in some mine workers. In some cases miners are exposed to asbestos from dust produced in the mining process while others are exposed through widely used commercial asbestos products.
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:
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.
Libby, Montana was home to vermiculite ore mining for many years before they realized it was causing high rates of mesothelioma and lung cancer in their community.
The vermiculite in Libby is contaminated by a highly dangerous form of asbestos called tremolite-actinolite series asbestos, sometimes referred to as Libby amphibole asbestos.
For much of the 20th century, asbestos was used to make a wide variety of products ranging from household dish towels to industrial cements. Mesothelioma and lung cancer patients may have been exposed to these items during manufacturing, installation, …
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.