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NIOSH takes on coal and rock dust - The real picture on coal dust in US mines.; NIOSH takes on coal and rock dust
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    While underground coal technology has progressed over time, regulations on coal dust have not kept up - the most recent rules are more than 80 years old. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Mine Safety and Health Administration conducted a joint survey recently on coal particle ranges as measured in US coal mine samples. In underground coal mines, dust explosions are prevented by the addition of enough rock dust (usually limestone) to make the total dust mixture inert. The rock dust acts as a heat sink for the dispersed dust mixture by reducing the temperature below the value needed to propagate an explosion. Federal regulations require 65% in combustible content in intake airways and 80% incombustible content in return airways, where the coal dust is assumed to be finer in size. The regulations also require an additional 1% incombustible for each 0.1% methane in the ventilating air in intakes and 0.4% additional incombustible for each 0.1% methane in returns.

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