Asbestos Controversy Continues at Proposed Mine Site

by Sokolove Law

The battle rages on over a proposed iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin where rock samples tested positive for asbestos fibers.

Plans for the Gogebic Taconite (G-Tec) mine continue to move ahead despite objections from local opponents including the Bad River Indian Tribe and the Penokee Hills Education Project, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

The newspaper reports that more testing is planned to determine the extent of asbestos throughout the site. Recent rock samples were found there that contained large quantities of grunerite, also known as “brown asbestos.”

Asbestos is a toxic substance that can cause cancer and other serious diseases. Exposure to asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma, a rare and fatal cancer that affects the thin membranes lining organs in the chest and abdomen. Mesothelioma symptoms can appear decades after exposure, and treatment options for patients are limited.

Mine opponents worry that mining and rock crushing at the site could release asbestos fibers into the air. They point to the potential health risks to mine employees and nearby residents if asbestos fibers become airborne. When asbestos fibers are inhaled into the lungs, they can cause irritation that may eventually result in mesothelioma.

G-Tec spokesman Bob Seitz told the Wisconsin State Journal that wetting down asbestos dust with water could prevent exposure to miners and residents.

Some experts have suggested that although there are safe methods to mine on a site containing asbestos, they could be prohibitively expensive and the mine might not be built. Seitz countered, “There’s nothing right now to show it will be too expensive.”

While asbestos exposure may occur during mining, it may also result from other activities such as the manufacturing of asbestos-containing products, the installing of asbestos insulation, or the demolition of structures that contain materials made with asbestos.

If you or a loved one was exposed to asbestos and later diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Call Sokolove Law today for a free case evaluation.

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