A U.S. Bureau of Mines designed and fabricated in-seam tester, retrofitted with a dust shroud, was used to establish a respirable dust index (rdi) and to determine cutting forces from a variety of bit types in four coal mines and a salt mine. Results from cutting tests at four coal mines showed that radial bits required the lowest cutting force and the least specific energy. Generally, for each conical bit the rdi and cutting force increased when the included bit tip angles increased from 70 deg to 90 deg. During field tests it was not possible to measure the total quantity of respirable dust produced by each cut; therefore, attempts were made to determine the amount of dust that became airborne from each test cut. The test results show that the quantity of airborne respirable dust is very erratic and cannot be related to bit type. Two statistical methods were employed to analyze rdi, but no correlation was found between the rdi and bit type. Despite scatter in test results for rdi, significant difference was found in rdi generated in four coal seams. In general, rdi increased with increased cutting force.