A major development for miners

A portable near-infrared detector can measure levels of silica in coal dust, according to Arthur Miller at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Spokane, and colleagues. The device could be useful in instigating appropriate protection for miners potentially exposed to silica, which can lead to the fatal condition silicosis through inhalation of microscopic particles of the substance. The device could be used to inform immediate adjustments to the mining process so reducing the risk of disease and death, Miller suggests.