Respirable dust and crystalline silica exposure among different mining sectors in India.Arch Environ Occup Health. 2021; 76(7):455-461.AE
Silicosis is one of the major occupational lung diseases among miners worldwide. The objective of this study was to characterize respirable dust and crystalline silica from limestone, iron, and bauxite mines in India. In total, 86 personal dust samples were collected from limestone (n = 30), iron (n = 30), and bauxite (n = 26) mines using dust sampler. The concentration of crystalline silica was analyzed using FTIR spectroscopy. Geometric mean respirable dust concentrations observed were 0.92, 1.08, and 1.07 mg/m3 for limestone, iron, and bauxite mines respectively, similarly for crystalline silica concentration observations were 0.015, 0.012 and 0.008 mg/m3 respectively. Among the three studied ores, mean crystalline silica concentration was statistically significant (p < 0.05) using an analysis of variance test. Although the detected levels of exposure are within the Indian exposure limits, attention should be paid to lower crystalline silica levels to minimize the risk of silicosis.