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DOL/MSHA RIN: 1219-AB36 Publication ID: Fall 2019 
Title: Respirable Crystalline Silica (Quartz) 

Metal and nonmetal miners and coal miners exposed to quartz in respirable dust can develop lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and various forms on pneumoconiosis, such as silicosis, coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, progressive massive fibrosis, and rapidly progressive pneumoconiosis.  These lung diseases are irreversible and may ultimately be fatal.  MSHA’s existing standards limit miners’ exposures to quartz in respirable dust.  MSHA’s metal and nonmetal mine standards are based on the 1973 American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Values formula: 10 mg/m3 divided by the percentage of quartz plus 2.

MSHA’s existing coal mine standards evaluate miners’ exposure to quartz in relation to the respirable dust standard.  When respirable coal mine dust samples are analyzed for quartz and exceed 0.1 mg/m3 (100 micrograms per cubic meter of air or µg/m3), the Agency reduces the applicable respirable dust standard for sections of the mine represented by the sample data.

In this Request for Information, the Department will solicit information and data on the best and most feasible ways to protect miners’ health from exposure to quartz in respirable dust, including an examination of an appropriately reduced permissible exposure limit, potential new or developing protective technologies, and/or technical and educational assistance. 

Agency: Department of Labor(DOL)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Prerule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
EO 13771 Designation: Regulatory 
CFR Citation: 30 CFR 56    30 CFR 57    30 CFR 70    30 CFR 72   
Legal Authority: 30 U.S.C. 811   
Legal Deadline:  None
Action Date FR Cite
Request for Information (RFI)  08/29/2019  84 FR 45452   
RFI Comment Period End  10/28/2019 
Analyze Comments  11/00/2019 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined  Government Levels Affected: Local, State 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses, Governmental Jurisdictions  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: No 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Sheila McConnell
Director, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances
Department of Labor
Mine Safety and Health Administration
201 12th Street South, Room 4E401,
Arlington, VA 22202-5452
Phone:202 693-9440
Fax:202 693-9441