The University of Minnesota is leading a comprehensive $4.9 million research initiative, funded by the State of Minnesota, which will lead to a greater understanding of taconite worker health issues on Minnesota's Iron Range. The University of Minnesota School of Public Health is partnering on the project with the Medical School, and the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota–Duluth.
The Health Assessment of Taconite Workers is a thorough epidemiologic investigation into the cause(s) of the excess cases of mesothelioma among taconite workers. This research will also determine the extent to which employment in the taconite industry and exposure to dust from the taconite industry affects the health of workers with specific emphasis on respiratory diseases and diseases associated with silica and asbestos exposure.
Three questions have shaped the scientific approach of the Health Assessment of Taconite Workers:
To adequately answer these questions, five separate core study designs have been developed, each with distinct goals.