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The exposure assessment of workplace hazards in both the open pit and underground mines have showed that the principal air pollutants in the breathing zone of miners are aerosols with low content of silicon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, trinitrotoluene frequently exceeding the occupational exposure limits. Particularly important is that a significant part of aerosols are presented by particles at aerodynamic diameter below 100 nm which are mostly originated from fuel combustion processes in diesel engines widely used in mining machines. The increase in morbidity and mortality of population exposed to airborne nano-size particles has been proved to associate with cardiovascular diseases rather than with pulmonary disorders. There is little known why the cardiovascular system is apparently vulnerable to the ultrafine particle exposure. It has been currently assumed that inhaling such particles may result in a systemic inflammation as determined by higher levels of acute phase reactants in serum. A few studies of biomarkers of epithelial injury in the lung and/or subsequent inflammation or alteration in the blood coagulation system in humans occupationally exposed to particulate matters have been published till date. Work in a cold environment creates in addition to the airborne exposure an extra stressor to the cardiovascular system of miners, reducing its functional reserves and contributing to processes of its dysadaptation and decompensation. Nevertheless, the combined effect that takes place in a cold climate and high humidity constitutes an increased risk of developing bronchopulmonary diseases but also an increase in morbidity and mortality in cardiovascular diseases. There is a wide gap in information on the health risks to specify which levels of control are required in the presence of ultrafine particles in air and cold and thus to provide guidance on choice of proper control measures.
- What is Diesel Exhaust?
- Barents Newsletter 3/2004 - Chemical safety (pdf; Finnish Institute of Occupational Health)
- Barents Newsletter 1/2004 - Exposure assessment (pdf; Finnish Institute of Occupational Health)
- Aerosol Sampling within MineHealth (pdf)
- COSSH essentials in quarries: Silica (pdf; Health and Safety Executive)
- Workplace Exposure Limits (free pdf download; Health and Safety Executive)
- Health Evaluation of Miners (pdf)
- Airborne Exposure Assessment (pdf)
- Silica (Health and Safety Executive)
- Health effects probably associated with occupational exposure