Federal Goverment Rules on Coal Dust

A decision is in and the Obama administration is cutting the amount of coal dust allowed in coal mines in an effort to help reduce black lung disease. The decision was announced Wednesday in Morgantown. Black lung is an irreversible and potentially deadly disease caused by exposure to coal dust, where the dust particles accumulate in the lungs. The rule by the Labor Department's Mine Safety and Health Administration lowers the overall dust standard from 2.0 to 1.5 milligrams per cubic meter of air. For certain mine entries and miners with black lung disease, the standard is cut in half, from 1.0 to 0.5. The rule also increases the frequency of dust sampling, and requires coal operators to take immediate action when dust levels are high. In addition, coal mine operators will be required to use new technology to provide real-time dust levels. The requirements will be phased in over two years.