Morgantown-area residents will have the opportunity to hear from experts regarding coal mine dust exposure and to share their comments in an open forum.

This Thursday, June 29, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will host an open session to discuss the control of respirable coal mine dust exposure in underground mines. The public meeting is open to coal mine workers, mine operators and others to provide their comments on using continuous personal dust monitors (CPDMs) in underground mines.

Dr. Michael McCawley, interim chair of the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences in the WVU School of Public Health, serves on the National Academies of Sciences’ committee on the Study of the Control of Respirable Coal Mine Dust Exposure in Underground Mines. The committee was created in response to a Congressional order to assess monitoring and sampling approaches for underground coal mining and the rates of exposure with which mine workers are faced.

According to Dr. McCawley, the committee is hosting a series of public meetings to gather information to address three aspects of coal mine dust control. The committee will compare monitoring technologies and sampling protocols used or required in the United States and other industrialized countries for the control of respirable coal mine dust exposure in underground coal mines. They also will assess the effects of rock dust mixtures on respirable coal mine dust measurements and the effectiveness of current monitoring technologies and sampling approaches to establish best practices.

The ongoing study is assessing the effectiveness of monitoring and sampling approaches that are used to guide decisions about controlling coal mine dust and mine worker exposure. The committee conducting the study will hear from representatives of Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) on emerging trends in the CPDM data and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) on research findings on the respiratory health of coal mine workers, followed by the public comment session.

Community members can provide input at the information-gathering meeting this Thursday from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT at the Morgantown Marriott at Waterfront Place in Morgantown, WV.

Visit the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine website for more information on the study.