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MSHA extends comment period for RFI on diesel exhaust

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Arlington, VA — The Mine Safety and Health Administration is extending to Sept. 25, 2020, the deadline for a Request for Information on ways to monitor and regulate miner exposure to diesel exhaust in underground mines.

MSHA announced the extension in the March 25 Federal Register, citing feedback from stakeholders who anticipate information pertinent to the RFI will emerge from planned future meetings of the Diesel Exhaust Health Effects Partnership, a collaboration between MSHA and NIOSH.

Research from NIOSH and the National Cancer Institute shows that exposure to diesel exhaust increases miners’ risk of dying from lung cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classified diesel exhaust as a human carcinogen in 2012.

Additionally, a 2018 study from Harvard University linked increased diesel exhaust exposure to a higher risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis among men.

The most recent comment period was slated to end March 26. MSHA previously reopened the comment period in March 2018 and January 2017 after the initial RFI was published in June 2016.

MSHA issued a final rule limiting exposure of diesel particulate matter in underground coal mines in 2001. The agency published a final rule on exposure to the matter in underground metal and non-metal mines in 2006.

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