These particles may be inhaled or absorbed by the skin, and can sometimes cause adverse health effects for workers.
Exposure may results in serious diseases such as black lung and silicosis
Black lung disease cases in coal miners have been increasing since 2000 for uncertain reasons.
Coal mine dust-related lung diseases are a complex problem that continues to affect coal miners in the U.S. Though black lung disease rates declined in the latter decades of the 20th century, an unexpected increase in the cases has been observed in various geographic areas. Historically, the primary focus of monitoring and sampling of respirable coal mine dust – comprising airborne particles in underground mines that can be inhaled by miners and deposited in the distal airways and gas-exchange region of the lung – has been based on federal regulation compliance, which has reduced but not eliminated such diseases.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of acres of land burn across the United States and fire fighters are asked to protect forests. Common hazards faced on the fire line can include burns, entrapment, heat-related illnesses and injuries, smoke inhalation, vehicle-related injuries , slips, trips, and falls, and exposure to toxic aerosols.
While no treatment is successful in reversing the lung diseases caused by exposure to respirable coal mine dust, hazard control in the work environment is the main prevention measure.