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Lower Coal Dust Limit Takes Effect Monday in Black Lung Push

Black lung is a deadly disease caused by exposure to dust underground.
Department of Labor

Coal mines nationwide are facing a more stringent limit on dust samples in an effort to reduce miners' exposure to particles that can cause deadly black lung disease.

On Monday, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration is dropping the allowable respirable dust level from 2 milligrams per cubic meter to 1.5 milligrams per cubic meter of air.

The agency says almost 99 percent of recent coal dust samples are already meeting the new standard.

The coal industry had challenged the new limits, arguing that the monitors had a high failure rate. Federal mine safety officials said the results show the new rules are effective.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health estimates black lung caused or contributed to deaths of more than 76,000 miners.

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