The relationship of total dust, free silica, and trace metal concentrations to the occupational respiratory disease of bituminous coal miners.
The concentrations of total, coal, and noncoal dusts, free silica (7631869), and ten trace elements found in lung tissue from 19 West Virginia bituminous coal miners were compared with concentrations found in previously analyzed groups of miners, and the total group was compared with 15 nonminer controls. Observed amounts of total dust, coal dust, free silica, chromium (7440473), iron (7439896), nickel (7440020), titanium (7440326), and vanadium (7440622) in the miners' lungs appeared in markedly higher concentrations than in the controls. There are indications of a monotonically increasing trend in means of magnesium (7439954), beryllium (7440417), vanadium, free silica, coal dust, and total dust with increasing degrees of coal workers' pneumoconiosis. The analyses of the data indicate no relationship between the severity of pneumonconiosis and chromium, copper (7440508), iron, manganese (7439965), nickel, titanium, zinc (7440666), and noncoal dust. Duration of mining experience, period from retirement to death, and levels of dust exposure exhibited no significant relationship to severity of pneumoconiosis of miners who were tobacco smokers with greater than 20 years service as a miner.