Mining Companies Block Publication of 20-Year Study of Miners Exposed to Diesel Fumes
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
An $11.5 million study 20 years in the making on the effects of diesel exhaust fumes on miners has been delayed from publication by mining companies and members of Congress.
The investigation by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, involving 12,000 miners, will not be made available to the public until mining companies and their political allies have had time to review the findings, presumably to prepare their response to the findings.
The delay came about after mining interests went to court and convinced U.S. District Judge Richard Haik to order the Department of Health and Human Services to allow industry a first-look at the report.
The Journal of the National Cancer Institute has accepted for publication two papers dealing with the results of the study, but they are on hold as long as the legal case drags on.
“If the research suggests a strong link between the fumes and cancer, regulation and litigation could ramp up—with consequences not only for underground mining, but also for industries such as trucking, rail and shipping,” writes Jim Morris at iWatch News.
The general assumption is that the study will demonstrate a direct link between exposure to diesel fumes and lung cancer. The mining industry and its lead lawyer-lobbyists, Henry Chajet and others at Patton Boggs, have already have begun attacking the unpublished report as “inaccurate and faulty.”
Coinciding with the eventual release of the report, the Department of Health and Human Services intends to send out “risk notification” letters to the miners who took part in the study. In a brief submitted to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in November, Patton Boggs warned that the study and the accompanying notifications “are likely to spawn public concerns, regulatory actions, and lawsuits,” which is no doubt true and with good reason.
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
To Learn More:
Landmark Diesel Exhaust Study Stalled Amid Industry And Congressional Objections (by Jim Morris, iWatch News)
Diesel Dangers: Mining Companies Get First Look at Government Cancer Study (by Jim Morris and Chris Hamby, iWatch News)
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