Pawlenty signs bill advancing Iron Range cancer study

Mine sign
The entrance to the Cleveland Cliffs United Taconite facility. Cleveland Cliffs agreed to join the study of cancer among miners.
MPR Photo/Stephanie Hemphill

The rare lung cancer afflicting miners on the Iron Range will be the topic of extensive study now that Gov. Tim Pawlenty has signed a bill providing money for the research.

The bill taps a Department of Commerce fund for the $4.9 million study.

Researchers hope to explain why dozens of miners have been stricken with mesothelioma.

The University of Minnesota will analyze death records and conduct screenings of current and former workers and their families. Environmental reviews will also be done. In all, the research is expected to take up to five years.