A Boise State research partnership with two other universities may reduce miners’ exposure to diesel exhaust and its harmful health effects.
A $405,301 exploratory grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health will permit researchers from Boise State, University of Washington and Montana Tech to evaluate novel approaches for assessing the exposure of underground miners to diesel exhaust.
Dale Stephenson, professor and chair of Boise State’s Department of Community and Environmental Health, and Chris Simpson, associate professor at the University of Washington, are co-principal investigators. Sin Ming Loo, professor and chair of Boise State’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is a co-investigator on this project.
“The new exposure monitoring approaches we’re testing are expected to improve measuring miners’ exposure to diesel exhaust, and likely at significantly lower cost than current technology,” said Stephenson.
He noted that improved monitoring also will allow an evaluation of how well biodiesel and engine emission control devices reduce miners’ exposure to diesel exhaust, and reduce diseases associated with exposure.
Because of the nature of their work in confined spaces close to diesel-powered equipment, underground miners have the highest exposures to diesel exhaust of any occupation. Thus, miners are at high risk for suffering harmful health effects.
Diesel exhaust is a major source of fine particulate matter air pollution. It has been linked to irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and respiratory system, in addition to inflammatory responses within the respiratory system. The Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that diesel exhaust is likely to cause cancer.