Lower Dust Limits Promised for Miners

December 11, 2009

New federal Mine Safety and Health Administration director Joe Main is re-emphasizing the agency’s commitment to reducing miners’ exposure to coal dust.

Joe Main said during a Web chat this week that proposed regulations due next September will lower limits for breathable coal dust. The agency also plans to propose regulations requiring coal dust monitors for individual miners next April and new standards for breathable silica dust in April 2011.

Inhaling coal dust can lead to black lung disease, while breathing silica can lead to similar health problems. Federal regulators fear the debilitating, often fatal disease is making a comeback in U.S. mines after decades of decline.

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