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Research needs for controlling hazardous substances and toxic materials in the mining industry.

Jankowski RA; Page SJ; Potts JD
Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Institute on Coal Mining Health, Safety and Research, Blacksburg, Virginia, August 26-28, 1991. Hugler E, Bacho A, Karmis M, eds. Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1991 Aug; :25-28
There has been a long and steady evolution of awareness regarding hazardous substances in our society. In the 1950's, attention was given to air pollution and the potential respiratory issues resulting from airborne contaminants. In the 1960's, attention was focused on water quality with the concern arising from unrestricted dumping of chemical substances into water resources. In the 1970's and 1980's, the interest became more focused. The issues of soil pollution, particularly from landfills, became prominent so that today there is scarcely an individual who has not heard the names PCB's and dioxin. Along with this increasing concern of toxic substances and the environment, there has evolved the concern of contamination in the workplace. The U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created in response to these concerns. The jurisdiction of OSHA essentially covers all nonmining-related occupations. The mining-related occupations are regulated by the U.S. Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Handbook of Threshold Limit Values and Biological Exposure Indices is currently the recognized document used by MSHA for enforcement of personal exposure to harmful chemical agents. Many physical and chemical substances are introduced into the mine environment to facilitate ore winning and processing. These substances are in addition to the dusts and gases generated from the extraction of ore that can also be hazardous if exposures are not controlled. Exposure to these substances can occur through inhalation, ingestion, and absorption. MSHA reports that complaints and inquiries concerning exposure to toxic substances have been increasing in recent years. It is speculated that this trend has resulted from an increase in chemical usage in the mining industry, and a greater public awareness of the health hazards associated with exposure to toxic materials.
Mine-workers; Miners; Mining-industry; Hazards; Hazardous-materials; Pollutants; Pollution; Toxic-materials; Toxins; Occupational-hazards; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-health; Control-methods; Control-systems
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Hugler E; Bacho A; Karmis M
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Institute on Coal Mining Health, Safety and Research, Blacksburg, Virginia, August 26-28, 1991
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division