Mining Contract: Reduction or Elimination of Coal Mining Related Respirable Dust Toxicity by Selection and Proper Application of Dust Control Additives

Contract # 75D30121C11927
Start Date 9/1/2021
Research Concept

Coal mining related respirable dust includes ultrafine particles of coal, crystalline silica, pyrite, aluminosilicates, other minerals, and, in some cases, diesel particulate matter (DPM). With increases in lung diseases such as coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWP), which is related to respirable coal mine dust (RCMD) in certain regions, investigations in this focus area are warranted. These respirable particles all have an ultrafine size distribution in common. However, they have surface chemistry components in common as well, most notably, the formation of hydroxyl radicals on the surface (termed "silanols" when discussing silica or silicates) and, for some, the presence of iron. Reducing the toxicity of the dust is a possible alternative to control technology.

Contract Status & Impact

This contract is ongoing. For more information on this contract, send a request to

Under this contract, researchers will review and study various chemical dust control additives that have been proposed in the literature for reduction or elimination of dust toxicity. In addition, this work can also be related to roof bolter operator dust exposure reductions as the research team will collaborate with JH Fletcher in the possible application of any promising chemical additives to physical curtains near roof bolters and to dust filters in the roof bolt dust collection chambers.

Reducing the hydroxyl radical content should reduce the toxicity of the respirable dust. The change in this value will be of paramount interest in this work. A reduction or elimination of the hydroxyl radical should indicate a level of success. This study may also lead to suggestions for future in vivo animal studies conducted by the NIOSH Health Effects Laboratory Division. If the research suggests that a certain additive may hold special promise, researchers may work directly with Rosebud Mining Company, CHEMSTREAM, and JH Fletcher for testing at mine sites.

Five tasks will be completed as part of this contract research, as follows.

Task 1. Bulk Sample Collection and Characterization

Task 2. Dust Generation from Coal, Quartz, and Pyrite

Task 3. Chemical Additive Test Matrix

Task 4. Data Analysis and Reporting

Task 5. Evaluation by Industry Partners

Page last reviewed: February 28, 2023
Page last updated: February 28, 2023