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NIOSH Invites Public Comment on Dust Monitor Draft Report

NIOSH Update:

Contact: Fred Blosser (202) 401-3749
May 30, 2006

The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) is requesting public comment on a Draft Report of Investigations, "Laboratory and Field Performance of a Respirable Personal Dust Monitor." The draft report addresses the laboratory and field testing of the Personal Dust Monitor (PDM). Comments will be accepted until June 30, 2006. A copy of the draft report and links for filing comments by email and online can be found at www.cdc.gov/niosh/review/public/dustmonitor/ .

Included in the draft report for public comment are extensive technical data and discussions, such as descriptions of the PDM, the tests done on the equipment, detailed data from test results, and the conclusions drawn from the results. The draft report concludes that, based on the findings of the tests, the device "functioned as well as the current sampler in terms of availability for use, accuracy, precision, and miner acceptance."

Developed through collaboration between NIOSH and diverse outside partners, the PDM is the first device that allows coal miners to immediately determine if they are exposed to airborne coal mine dust at concentrations that pose a risk of pneumoconiosis, or black lung disease. It provides an alternative to the current system for coal dust measurement that has been used since inception of the 1969 Coal Mine Health and Safety Act. Currently, it can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks for a mine operator and a miner to get back information about the level of coal dust to which the miner is exposed.

"The availability of the draft report for public comment is a significant step in the partnership to develop this innovative technology, and to move research findings into actual practice," said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. "We encourage comments on the draft report, and we will incorporate that input into the development of a final report."

The Personal Dust Monitor received the R&D 100 Award 2004 from R&D magazine as one of 100 technologically significant products recognized by a panel of independent experts.

Additional information about NIOSH's mining safety and health research program is available at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/programs/mining/. For further information about NIOSH research and recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths, call the NIOSH toll-free information number 1-800-35-NIOSH or visit the NIOSH Web site at www.cdc.gov/niosh.


 
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