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Study on dust particle size in autopsied lungs of underground coalminers.

Xing C; Fu S
Proceedings of the VIIth International Pneumoconioses Conference, August 23-26, 1988, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 90-108, 1990 Sep; (Pt I):738-741
A study was made of the size distribution of dust particles in autopsied lungs of 60 coal miners. Digestion with hydrogen-peroxide and microincineration were used to obtain particles for microscopic analysis. Two random samples were taken from each of the autopsies. Dust particles were divided into mineral and coal categories and sized. For mineral dust particles, 55.6% were less than 2 microns in diameter, 25.8% were 2 to 5 microns, 10.5% were greater than 5 microns, 7.7% were 7 to 10 microns and 0.4% were greater than 10 microns. For coal particles, respective distributions were 57.6, 26.5, 11.2, 4.4 and 0.2%. Mineral dust particles were in significantly greater proportions in the two largest size categories relative to those of coal dust particles. Mass percent values for mineral dust particles were 16.3, 17.4, 52.1 and 14.2% for particles less than 5, 5 to 7, 7 to 10 and greater than 10 microns, respectively. Respective amounts for coal dust particles were 22.5, 11.3, 55.5 and 12.5%. Mineral and coal dust particles were significantly different for percent mass of particles over 5 and 7 microns and for fractions over 10 microns. Particle number distribution was greatest and mass percent lowest for smaller particles, and the reverse was noted for larger particles. The authors conclude that pathological lung changes in coal workers' pneumoconiosis are closely related to mass and content of retained respirable dust and that dust monitoring and hygiene standards should consider total as well as respirable dust concentrations.
Coal miners; Underground miners; Lung tissue; Postmortem examination; Dust particles; Mineral dusts; Coal dust; Physical properties
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
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Identifying No.
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 90-108
Source Name
Proceedings of the VIIth International Pneumoconioses Conference, August 23-26, 1988, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Page last reviewed: June 15, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division