Martin Jennings & Associates – October 2004
Coal Services Pty Ltd (CSPL) has commissioned a study by the authors of respirable crystalline silica in coal dust, specifically asking the following questions:
a) What are the adverse health effects from exposure to crystalline silica in respirable coal dust and are they different in any way to those from exposure to pure crystalline silica?
b) Is the current NSW exposure standard of 0.15 mg/m3 respirable silica sufficient to prevent the onset of any disease outcome identified in (a)?
The authors viewed current available research and data provided by CSPL on coal dust and quartz exposures and on incidence of diseases in NSW coal miners. Where appropriate, personal contacts were initiated with persons identified as having expertise in the area.
There is considerable evidence to indicate that exposure to pure crystalline silica will result in a number of disease outcomes including silicosis, lung cancer, tuberculosis, chronic airways disease, auto-immune diseases and nephrotoxicity.
Of these disease outcomes, silicosis and lung cancer were considered to be the most relevant to this study.