Nearly all respirable coal dust samplings comply with new mine dust rule

End Black Lung Now

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from www.dol.gov

News Release

Dust levels in underground coal mines continue to trend downward with new low in 2014

ARLINGTON, Va.Chester Fike was just in his 30s when he was diagnosed with black lung. As the disease progressed, the West Virginia coal miner was eventually so incapacitated that a simple walk with his family was impossible. In the summer of 2012, four months after a double lung transplant raised hopes for a second chance, Fike lost his fight for life at 60.

In an effort to spare others the same fate, the Mine Safety and Health Administration published a final rule, which took effect in August 2014, to lower miners’ exposure to respirable coal mine dust in all underground and surface coal mines. From Aug. 1 through Dec. 31, 2014 — the first phase of the rule — more than 23,600 dust samples have been collected, and results show that about 99 percent of samples are in compliance. Since MSHA launched its "End Back Lung — Act Now" campaign in 2009, the yearly average of respirable dust levels of designated mining occupations in underground coal mines has fallen every year and, in 2014, reached the lowest level ever recorded.

"These results show that the new dust rule is working, and miners should be breathing cleaner air at coal mines," said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "Despite concerns from some in the mining industry, most of the valid samples collected have met compliance levels….

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