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The future of quartz dust standards in mining.
Ann Am Conf Gov Ind Hyg 1986 Jul; 14:697-702
Standards for quartz (14808607) dust in mining were evaluated. Quartz dust exposure was discussed in terms of pulmonary fibrosis and immunologic response. The fibrotic process has been attributed to the phagocytic action of pulmonary alveolar macrophages on quartz particles, and elevated serum immunoglobulin-A (IgA) and immunoglobulin-G (IgG) levels, as well as immunologically mediated disorders such as scleroderma, have been associated with quartz dust exposure. Quartz particles were characterized as to size, crystalline surface structure and chemical composition, and mixture with other dusts, including coal. Fibrogenic and immunogenic activities were attributed to the presence of silanol groups on crystal surfaces, as well as the nature of variations in composition and mixture with other components. The presence of other dusts may affect the pathogenicity of quartz dust. Several methods for evaluating the pulmonary hazard of quartz dust exposure were described, including physical and chemical dust analyses, cytotoxicity studies, animal inhalation studies, and animal lung cell lavage studies. The establishment of standards for worker exposure to quartz dust was considered to be a difficult process, given the inability to quantify degrees of hazard and the subsequent reliance on biologic data for the most fibrogenic dust, the complex nature of interactions between individuals and dusts, and the paucity of epidemiologic data. An historical overview of quartz dust standard establishment showed no trend toward reducing acceptable exposure limits from earlier standards. The author suggests that future standards will be able to rely upon a larger body of epidemiologic data, and that the establishment of such standards could be facilitated by more rapid and inexpensive methods of dust analysis.
NIOSH-Author; Airborne-dusts; Coal-mining; Dust-analysis; Mineral-dusts; Occupational-respiratory-disease; Particulate-dust; Respirable-dust; Underground-mining
Annals of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists
Page last reviewed: February 18, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division