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Research on health effects and particle characterization to improve silica dust control in underground coal mines.

Weber K; Tucker J; Stettler L; Wallace WE; Keane M
Pittsburgh, PA: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, OFR 3-89, 1988 Jan; :1-337
Silica particles are known to induce lung damage when inhaled. It has been known for many years that "pure" silica particles, when inhaled in large amounts, lead to an acute, deadly form of silicosis. Silica particles are part of the occupational exposure in coal mining. The National Coal Workers Autopsy Study was surveyed from 1971 to 1980, and silicosis was found to be present in 13 pct of the cases. Silica particle size determinations were made using 22 human lungs, and the geometric size distributions showed a mean of less than 1 um. No acute silicosis cases were found. These small-sized respirable particles would have to be eliminated to prevent silicosis from occurring. The cytotoxic potential of silica quartz dust can be affected by respirable particle surface properties. This research investigated a method to characterize the surface elemental composition of quartz respirable particles that may be contaminated or occluded in mixed dust atmospheres. Also, a surface modification of quartz was investigated that significantly alters the cytotoxic potential without producing a readily measurable elemental composition change. Effects on particle hemolytic potential of boiling quartz dust in glass are quantitated.
Exposure; Hazardous-materials; Occupational-diseases; Respiratory-diseases; Dust; Particle-size; Quartz; Silicosis; Silicon-dioxide; Coal-mining; Underground-mining; Air-pollution-control
Publication Date
Document Type
CP; Final Contract Report
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
OFR 3-89
Source Name
Pittsburgh, PA: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, OFR 3-89
Performing Organization
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: November 19, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division