Researchers look to calcite as deterrent for black lung
Interesting article in the April issue of Coal Age magazine – looks at the possibility of using calcite (CaCO3) to reduce the incidence of coal workers pneumoconiosis (CWP).
Recent epidemiological studies have indicated that prevalence of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP) has increased in eastern Appalachian coals but not in other coal mine regions. Numerous toxicological studies have shown that bioavailable iron and quartz in the Appalachian coals are likely causative compounds that lead to CWP development. In the Western coals, calcite (CaCO3) prevents iron from becoming bioavailable and limits endogenous iron to interact with quartz, resulting in reduced toxicity of the coal dust. Here we propose a novel strategy to use calcite as a protective agent to prevent CWP in the Appalachian coalfield. This strategy may be more feasible than simply reducing dust concentrations, since the conventional dust control technology appears to have approached their maximum capacity, making an even more stringent dust standard impractical.