Mining Publication: Mine Aerosol Measurement
Exposure to mineral aerosol is an occupational health hazard in mining and mineral processing industries because of the risk of developing pneumoconiosis. Agricola (1556) described this hazard for metal mining in Carpathia. He described shortness of breath and consumption, conditions that are now associated with asthma and emphysema. By the end of the nineteenth century, several respiratory diseases were known to affect miners, including silicosis and coal workers' pneumoconiosis (Fletcher, 1948; Seaton et al., 1981). For example, silicosis, not tuberculosis, was clearly recognized as the hazard in the Vermont granite quarries and stone-cutting sheds (McFarland, 1927). The Gauly Bridge Tunnel disaster in the mid-1930s caused the deaths of an estimated 700 workers by acute silicosis and focused the nation's attention on this disease (Cherniack, 1986). By the mid-twentieth century, it was clear that risk of simple pneumoconiosis is associated with a miner's cumulative exposure to mine aerosol in the respirable size range and that prevention lies in reducing that exposure through regulation (Seaton, 1986).