NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Assessment of respiratory exposures during gilsonite mining and milling operations.

Kullman GJ; Doak CB; Keimig DG; Cornwell RJ; Ferguson RP
Am Ind Hyg Assoc J 1989 Aug; 50(8):413-418
Industrial hygiene characterizations were performed by NIOSH at three gilsonite (12002436) mills and nine gilsonite mining operations to measure occupational exposure to gilsonite and its constituents and to evaluate potential health effects (especially respiratory effects). Six out of seven bulk gilsonite samples had crystalline silica contents below 0.75 weight percent, no asbestos (1332214) or other fibrous mineral compounds were detected in bulk samples from five different veins of gilsonite, and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons were not detected in any bulk samples. Total and respirable dust concentrations from all gilsonite operations ranged from 0.56 to 283mg/m3 and from 0.08 to 41.7mg/m3, respectively. Miners had the highest exposures with concentrations of 35.5 to 283mg/m3. Airborne dusts from mining and milling operations showed relatively large aerodynamic size distributions. Respirable crystalline silica was detected in two personal respirable dust samples collected from miners. Airborne magnesium (7439954) was detected in every sample at concentrations up to 230 micrograms per cubic meter. No asbestos fibers were detected in airborne samples from hoist operator houses. Concentrations of toluene and total hydrocarbons in airborne samples from mining operations ranged up to 0.23 parts per million and up to 104mg/m3, respectively. No hydrogen-sulfide (7783064) was detected in any of the mining operations. The authors conclude that the gilsonite dust exposure data are consistent with results of an earlier respiratory health survey of gilsonite workers in which the most definitive finding was an excess prevalence of bronchitic symptoms.
NIOSH-Author; Underground-miners; Mining-industry; Toxic-gases; Nonmetallic-minerals; Dust-exposure; Mineral-dusts; Organic-vapors; Toxic-vapors; Environmental-exposure; Exposure-levels
12002-43-6; 1332-21-4; 7439-95-4; 7783-06-4
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Fiscal Year
Issue of Publication
Source Name
American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division