Recent advances in the analysis of respirable coal dust for free silica, trace elements, and organic constituents.
Analytical techniques currently in use and under development are described for materials that may be involved in the development of coal workers' pneumoconiosis. The three classes of materials discussed were free silica, elements (mainly trace metals), and organic compounds. Emphasis is on newer techniques and modification of well-known means of conducting analysis. Analysis of free silica is done either directly on membrane filters or by mechanical and thermal alteration. Analytical methods for elements include atomic absorption, polarography, ring oven, spectrophotometry, spark source mass spectrometry, emission spectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence, and neutron activation. Determination of organic compounds is by high-resolution mass spectrometry.