Nanoparticle monitoring ensuring coal miners’ safety

An unfortunate fallout of coal mining is the rise in the number of
workers developing degenerative lung diseases. Mine workers who are
continuously exposed to coal dust can develop black lung disease with fatal
consequences. Lack of regulations and laxity on the part of mine operators in
Australia contribute significantly to this situation.

Various governments across the world have taken preventative measures to
limit the health impact of coal mining; however, the fact that nearly 30
confirmed cases of black lung disease were detected in the country recently,
according to the Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC), proves that current
processes in place are ineffective.

According to the ABC report, environmental researchers have called on
the Queensland government to put new policies in place to change how companies
approach nanoparticle monitoring for coal mining.

This environment group explains that the Queensland Government
essentially looks to the mining industry to regulate themselves. However, in
the absence of regulations or compliance, workers as well as communities in the
entire coalfields region have no access to air pollution monitoring data to
know what they are breathing.

Four mines across the country were found to be non-compliant both in
terms of overexposure to coal dust, as well as nanoparticle testing. People
exposed to coal dust may develop Pneumoconioses, described as lung diseases caused
by inhaling small particles such as crystalline silica or dusts kicked into the
air or lingering underground.

Outdated nanoparticle testing equipment for coal mining can be
inconvenient to use and even inaccurate at times.

The diffusion size classifier mini (DiSCmini) from Testo is a handheld
device designed to provide air pollution measurements on the go. The device is
an excellent tool for nanoparticle monitoring without the need for fluids or
radioactive sources.

Testo’s DiSCmini is a proven asset for personal exposure monitoring with
its ability to determine particle number concentration; average particle
diameter; and lung deposited surface area.

Key features and advantages of the DiSCmini include smallest device on
the market with ability to accurately monitor nanoparticles at any orientation;
data captured through a secure digital memory card for convenient uploading to
any computer for further analysis; handheld device eliminating traditional
obstacles to environmental monitoring, thereby improving workplace safety; and
versatile tool conducting airborne measurements and also used as an aerosol
electrometer.

Recommended for the coal mining industry, the DiSCmini can conduct
nanoparticle testing, enabling the industry to create safe work practices that
will prevent fatalities from black lung disease.

Contact a Testo representative today for more information.

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