Taconite mining involves potential exposure to non-asbestiform amphibole mineral fiber. More recent studies have demonstrated increased mortality from respiratory cancers and heart disease among workers in the taconite industry. This finding is not consistent with recent exposure assessment findings, nor is the toxicology of this mineral suggestive of neoplastic disease. The understanding of respiratory disease in taconite mining is hampered by the lack of exposure data to asbestiform mineral fibers that occurred in the 1950s and 1960s. Other industries with similar mineral exposure have not demonstrated definitive associations with respiratory cancer, although non-malignant respiratory disease is a consistent finding in epidemiological studies.
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