Underground Diesel Exhaust

The UMWA comments on Underground Diesel Exhaust


On June 9, 2016, the Mine Health and Safety Administration (MSHA) published a Request for Information (RFI) on ways to control and monitor underground miners’ exposure to diesel exhaust.

MSHA cited studies by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the National Cancer Institute, who found a strong link between diesel exhaust and lung cancer, as the basis for the request.

As far back as June 2012, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified diesel exhaust and lung cancer, as the basis for the request.

As face back as June 2012, the IARC classified diesel exhaust as carcinogenic to humans.

MSHA’s press release noted that it’s time for MSHA to determine whether the existing standard adequately protects miners.

The UMWA International Health and Safety Department noted that studies show underground coal miners can be exposed to more than 10 times the Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) of other occupations.

The situation is also made worse with the increasing numbers of diesel-powered equipment being used in underground coal mines.

The UMWA recommended MSHA review the standards for DPM in both Pennsylvania and West Virginia to determine what standard it will eventually adopt.

“It should not surprise anyone that diesel exhaust causes lung cancer,” said President Roberts.

“Health agencies from around the world have been telling everyone who would listen that DPM causes cancer. MSHA needs to work as quickly as possible to address this issue and protect miners from this serious health risk.”

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