Risks of Poor Mining Dust Control
Dust can also cause lung diseases. Particularly hazardous is dust less than 10 microns in diameter because it tends to become trapped in the aveoli of the lungs and is not exhaled as are large particles. This so-called respirable dust causes inflammation and eventually diseases that are often fatal - including lung cancer. The incidence of black lung disease among coal miners has been the subject of research for well over a century and coal mines are now subject to stringent standards regulating personnel exposure. Black lung is a progressive disease that may take 15 to 20 years to develop. Exposure to silica containing dust is known to cause silicosis which also requires long term exposure. Silica dusts cause scarring of the lungs which, over a period of several years, can result in this fatal disease.
But how does this dust come about in the mining industry and with coal? There are a lot of different places that it can occur: within the excavation sites, hammer mills, rock crushing, ball mills, mill conveyor transfer points, coal mining dust processing, and bin venting of quarry storage. As a general rule, the most common places that dust needs to be seriously controlled are the excavations sites and mill transfer sites. Besides in mining dust control, similar dust control systems can be used in iron and steel mills, quarries, power plants, rail roads, coal terminals, airstrips, grain terminals, and shipping terminals, for not only private industry but also for government departments and agencies and the military.
There are different versions of mining dust control systems that can be used to keep industry leaders in regulation with the EPA. High pressure spray systems that create a mist to suppress dust are able to conserve water and are the most common method of dust control for material handling and processing operations. They feature electronic control, can be fully automated and equipped with compressed air or anti-freeze systems for cold weather operation. They may also use chemical additives to enhance performance have no chemical additives and are simple to use and maintain.