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MSHA announces public meeting on Request for Information on quartz exposure

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Washington — The Mine Safety and Health Administration has scheduled a public meeting on a Request for Information on ways to monitor and regulate miner exposure to quartz – the most common form of respirable crystalline silica.

According to a notice published in the Sept. 27 Federal Register, the meeting is set for 9 a.m. Eastern on Oct. 17 at the agency’s headquarters.

MSHA published the RFI in the Aug. 29 Federal Register, outlining the agency’s interest in feedback regarding permissible exposure limits, possible new or emerging protective technologies, and/or technical and educational assistance.

OSHA estimates that 2.3 million workers are exposed to silica dust annually. A carcinogen found in sand, stone and artificial stone, crystalline silica can cause conditions such as silicosis – a chronic disease that involves scarring of the lungs – and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Further, extensive research within the past five years has linked silica dust exposure to a spike in cases of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, a deadly but preventable condition commonly known as black lung.

Comments on the RFI are due Oct. 28.

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