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Silica Lab Services

Category Press Release
Publish Date 4/26/2019
Author Paul Cochrane
Title Exposure to Coal and Silica Dusts Examined in Documentary About Miners with Black Lung Disease
Introduction EMSL Analytical provides industrial hygiene and environmental testing services to identify coal dust, crystalline silica and other respiratory hazards to protect workers from occupational exposures.

Cinnaminson, NJ,  April 26th , 2019

A joint FRONTLINE and NPR investigation into black lung disease among coal miners was recently the focus of a broadcast on PBS. Coal’s Deadly Dust examined a spike into a severe form of black lung disease known as progressive massive fibrosis (PMF). The broadcast aired in January and examined workers’ exposure to coal dust and how inhalation of silica could be associated with the increase in relatively young miners diagnosed with the debilitating condition.

Prolonged exposure to respirable coal dust can cause lung diseases, such as coal workers' pneumoconiosis, emphysema and PMF. These diseases collectively referred to as black lung, can lead to permanent disability and even death. Although some miners never develop the disease, others may develop the early signs after less than 10 years of mining experience, reported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Exposure to crystalline silica in the dust that may be produced when extracting coal is another serious concern. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) stated that crystalline silica was classified as a human lung carcinogen and breathing it in causes silicosis. In severe cases, silicosis can be disabling or even fatal. Respirable silica dust enters the lungs and causes the formation of scar tissue, thus reducing the lungs’ ability to take in oxygen. There is no cure for silicosis.

“Protecting against the damage that coal and silica dusts can cause in workers’ lungs needs to be a top priority,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President, Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “To safeguard workers and help to keep companies in compliance with health and safety regulations, EMSL offers industrial hygiene and environmental analysis for crystalline silica, coal and other respirable dusts and hazards associated with mining, construction and other industries. EMSL provides all of the sampling supplies necessary, offers real-time air monitoring equipment and even carries a comprehensive line of personal protective equipment or PPE.”

To educate workers and managers, EMSL has sponsored an educational video about coal dust exposure and black lung disease that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/mylbjpYXYj8.

To learn more about coal, crystalline silica and respirable dust testing or other occupational, environmental, health and safety services, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com.


About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories with over 46 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP <797>, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at www.EMSL.com for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.
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