Dust Generation and Respiratory Impact of Underground Coal-Producing mines in Pakistan
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College of Earth and Environmental Sciences, New campus, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan
Department of Public Health, College of Life Sciences, Brigham Young University, UT, USA
College of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan
Submission date: 2019-10-25
Final revision date: 2019-12-15
Acceptance date: 2019-12-15
Online publication date: 2020-04-22
Publication date: 2020-06-08
Corresponding author
Waheed Ullah Khan   

College of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of the Punjab Lahore, 54590, Lahore, Pakistan
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2020;29(5):3611-3620
Coal is a major source of energy in developing countries. Its underground mining exposes workers to respirable dust containing silica, causing respiratory illness. The objectives of this study include measuring this dust and the percentage of its silica content and evaluating the prevalence of respiratory diseases among coal cutters. A walkthrough survey performa, SKC Airchek 52 (SKC Inc., eighty four, PA, USA) air sampling pumps, an anemometer, hygrometer, multi-gas detector, a thermometer and modified International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD) respiratory questionnaire were used to collect data from 64 workers working in 5 different mines of Chakwal District in Punjab, Pakistan. Mine E, with the lowest ventilation volumetric flow rate (18m3/s), has the highest dust concentration (6.10 mg/m3, silica content 2.699%). Conversely, mine A, with the highest ventilation volumetric flow rate (45 m3/s), has the lowest dust concentration (2.58 mg/m3, 1.33 % silica content). Survey results show that 71% of workers inherited this occupation, 94% did not smoke, 99% did not use any dust mask, 47% have diagnosed tuberculosis and 8% asthma. About 57, 48, 44 and 42 workers reported cough, phlegm, chest tightness and shortness of breath, respectively. The 89% workers were told by their physicians that dust exposure was the reason for their respiratory ailment.
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