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Emerging regulatory and control issues for silica dust in mining.

Jankowski-RA; Stricklin-KG
Proceedings of the 28th Annual Institute on Mining Health, Safety and Research, Salt Lake City, Utah, August 25-27, 1997. Jenkins FM; Karmis M; McCarter MK; Narramore CN, eds., Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1997 Aug; :49-59
Exposure to respirable mine dusts (coal and crystalline silica) continues to be considered the major health concern facing the mining industry today. Silicosis is a disabling and sometimes fatal lung disease which can afflict mine workers who are overexposed to fine airborne particles of respirable crystalline silica. It was long thought that silicosis was not a problem for mine workers. However, recent medical studies have specifically linked silicosis to surface mining, and the potential for overexposure remains just as real in underground mining operations. Each year, more than 250 American workers die with silicosis, with the most frequent occupation being listed as mining machine operator. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has recently recommended that the exposure limit for respirable crystalline silica not exceed 0.05 mg/m3, and the Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Pneumoconiosis Among Coal Mine Workers has suggested "the Mine Safety and Health Administration cause the lowering of silica exposure of miners." In the Fall of 1996, the Department of Labor, together with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Department of Health and Human Services launched a national silicosis prevention effort. This effort is a partnership between labor, industry, and Federal Agencies that will serve to abate, and ultimately eliminate, the enormous human and financial cost of unnecessarily high exposures to mine dusts. As part of this initiative, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has instituted a program of increased regulatory efforts and special enforcement activities throughout the mining industry, while the Pittsburgh Research Laboratory of NIOSH has identified improved control technologies which can be used to mitigate the potential exposure of mine workers to respirable crystalline silica. Both of these activities are described in detail within this report. Both Agencies have joined in a campaign of outreach, education, surveillance, and control. Remember, "If It's Silica, It's Not Just Dust."
Silica-dusts; Silicate-miners; Mine-workers; Mining-industry; Mining-equipment; Miners; Dust-exposure; Dust-inhalation; Dust-particles; Respirable-dust; Respiratory-system-disorders; Pulmonary-disorders; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Silicosis; Lung-disease; Lung-disorders; Carcinogens; Quartz-dust; Statistical-analysis; Monitoring-systems; Regulations; Control-methods; Control-technology; Surveillance-programs
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Jenkins-FM; Karmis-M; McCarter-MK; Narramore-CN
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Proceedings of the 28th Annual Institute on Mining Health, Safety and Research, Salt Lake City, Utah, August 25-27, 1997
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division