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Suggestion of a Cause-and-Effect Relationship Among Coal Rank, Airborne Dust, and Incidence of Workers’ Pneumoconiosis
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    Prolonged exposure to airborne respirable coal mine dust is responsible for coal workers' pneumoconi¬osis (CWP): Furthermore, miners who show evidence of higher radiographic categories of simple CWP are at increased risk of developing progressive massive fibro¬sis (PMF). As of 1990, there were nearly 130,000 coal miners in the United States. "' This excludes mines that produce less than 10,000 tons annually and the anthracite coal mines. Estimates indicate that at age 58, an average of 7/1000 U.S. workers and 89/1000 U.K workers will have developed PMF(2-1) Health research studies have iden¬tified that the risk of developing and the severity of CWP arc directly related to (1) the amount of respirable dust exposure and (2) the coal rank.,'- The rank of coal is its stage of formation in the series peat, lignite, sub-bituminous, bituminous, and anthra¬cite (in order of increasing rank). The rank of coal can also be represented by the com¬mercially important characteristics specified by its proximate analysis: fixed carbon, vol¬atile matter, mineral matter, and moisture content.

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