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Nominations Open for NIOSH Technology Innovations Award

Posted By Mark Ellis, Friday, May 26, 2017

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2017 NIOSH Mine Safety and Health Technology Innovations Award for Industrial Minerals.  The award and nominations process are described in the attached flyer.  More information on the award and the nominations process can be accessed through the following link:  The nominations process closes on Friday, June 30.  The award for industrial minerals will be presented in conjunction with the IMA-NA Annual Meeting, September 25-28, 2017, in Chicago, IL.  We encourage you to consider self-nominating your company for the award.

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Tags:  IMA-NA Annual Meeting  NIOSH  Technology Innovations Award 

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NIOSH Workshop on Elongate Mineral Particles

Posted By Mark Ellis, Monday, May 1, 2017

The National Academies of Sciences Committee on Earth Resources will host a workshop on elongate mineral particles (EMPs) on May 15 and 16 in Washington, DC.  The workshop is sponsored by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and will address terminology and characterization of elongate mineral particles.  Asbestos fibers are a subset of a larger universe of EMPs, which encompass a broad group of respirable mineral particles of certain aspect ratios. Advancing research and communication about EMP properties and their potential health effects is challenging for a number of reasons including the continued use of inconsistent nomenclature and inadequate characterization of EMPs. One industry concern is the potential for mischaracterizing other EMPs as asbestos fibers, absent comparable mineralogy or asbestos-related health effects.  Participation in the Workshop is either in person or via WebEx.  To register for the Workshop, click here.

Tags:  asbestos  elongate mineral particles  elongated mineral particles  National Academies of Sciences  NIOSH  nonasbestiform 

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NIOSH Issues Revised Chemical Carcinogen Policy

Posted By Mark Ellis, Thursday, January 12, 2017

On December 27, 2016, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published a revised Chemical Carcinogen Policy (Current Intelligence Bulletin 68).  It is the first such revision in over 10 years and embodies a significant change in policy from earlier versions.  Among the changes:

  • Advancing the public health policy presumption that there is “no safe level” of exposure to any carcinogenic substance, rather than “no known safe level” of exposure;

  • Eliminating Recommended Exposure Limits (RELs) for chemical carcinogens and instead adopting a “Risk Management Limit for a Carcinogen (RML-CA) as “an initial starting point for control;”

  • Setting RML-CAs for occupational carcinogens at the concentration corresponding to the 95% lower confidence limit of the 1 in 10,000 risk estimate for a 45-year working lifetime, instead of 1 in 1,000, but only when occupational measurement of the carcinogen at the RML-CA is analytically feasible;

  • Announcing an intention to issue authoritative documents evaluating existing cancer hazard assessments conducted by the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC); and

  • Identifying elimination or substitution and engineering controls as the primary ways to prevent occupational cancer.

To view the revised NIOSH Chemical Carcinogen Policy, click here.

To view an analysis of the revised NIOSH Chemical Carcinogen Policy, click here.

Tags:  cancer  NIOSH  occupational  risk assessment 

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National Miners Day - December 6th

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Monday, December 5, 2016

Tomorrow, December 6th, is National Miners Day. Designated by Congress in 2009, December 6th, is marked as a day of commemoration and appreciation for the more than 350,000 miners whose work allows for our modern lifestyles. As IMA-NA members are aware, the mining industry goes largely unrecognized by the wider public for the enormous contributions to the global economy and community.  National Miners Day is a wonderful opportunity in the United States to recognize your workforce and the miners whose hard work underpins so much of our modern world. 

IMA-NA and our staff would like to take the opportunity to extend appreciation and gratitude for our Producer Members and their workforce. Furthermore, we would like to encourage IMA-NA members to share that tomorrow is National Miners Day with their employees, post to social media, or simply highlight your contributions to your community throughout the day tomorrow.

Click here to connect to the Facebook National Miners Day page.

Click here to read NIOSH's salute to Miners.

Click here to read MSHA's background on the day.

Tags:  education  facebook  msha  national miners day  NIOSH  outreach  social media 

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NIOSH Announces New Leadership for Spokane Mining Research Division

Posted By Mark Ellis, Friday, February 5, 2016

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has appointed Dr. Eric A. Lutz as Director of its new Spokane Mining Research Division, part of the NIOSH Office of Mine Safety and Health Research (OMSHR).

“Dr. Lutz’s expertise in miner health and safety will be critical as this new NIOSH research division expands to address the special needs of the extractive industries in the western United States,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “I am pleased to welcome Dr. Lutz to NIOSH and am confident his leadership will help the Division move forward in its mission to ensure the health and safety of the dedicated workers within the mining industry."

In his new role, Dr. Lutz will provide oversight, guidance, and direction to research personnel and support NIOSH’s cutting-edge health and safety research focused on the mining community. He will help guide the translation of research results into practice to ultimately protect the health and improve the lives of miners and mining communities.

Prior to joining NIOSH, Dr. Lutz served as Assistant Professor in the Division of Community, Environment, and Policy at the Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona (UA) in Tucson while concurrently serving as the UA Director of Mining Health and Safety Programs. He also brings a wealth of health and safety expertise garnered in the private sector working for organizations such as Battelle Memorial Institute and BioGard Environmental Services.

A Certified Mine Safety Professional, Dr. Lutz also serves as the director and co-founder of the Health and Safety Technical Advisory Committee of the Institute for Mineral Resources and is chair of the Health and Safety Division in the Society of Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration. He is also the co-founder and vice chair of the Mining Working Group of the American Industrial Hygiene Association.

Dr. Lutz received a Master of Science degree from The Ohio State University (OSU) College of Public Health. He also holds a doctorate in Environmental Health Sciences, also from OSU College of Public Health. 

The Spokane Mining Research Division was created in April 2015, and is located at the NIOSH facility in Spokane, Washington. 

NIOSH is the federal agency that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. Click here for more information about NIOSH.

Tags:  administration  industrial minerals industry  NIOSH  research  safety and health 

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The Importance of the Lake Lynn Experimental Mine

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, June 12, 2014

In September 2013, the lease on NIOSH’s Lake Lynn Experimental Mine and Laboratory ran out and required the return of the land to the original owner.  The loss of the Lake Lynn facilities is a huge blow to mine safety studies and our ability to develop improvements in a clinical setting. 


In 1982, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) leased an abandoned limestone mine and the surrounding land on the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border in Fayette County, Pennsylvania to set up a new mine studies facility.  The Lake Lynn facilities consist of a realistic underground mine as well as an above ground laboratory.  For 30 years NIOSH used the Lake Lynn facilities to conduct important mining safety and health experiments.  The experiments led to advances in numerous important areas including: discovering the necessary level of incombustible material in order to keep coal dust incombustible, the development of a coal dust explosibility meter, and testing various seals strength. 


As injuries and fatalities still occur with regularity at mines across the world, we are reminded of the continued importance of health and safety studies.  Access to a realistic mine in which to conduct experiments is a key component to the fight against injuries and fatalities.  Unfortunately, due to a rock fall in 2008 the underground portion of the lab was and remained closed because the government did not decide to invest further money in land that was leased rather than owned.  The current issue arose when it came time to renew the lease and the owner demanded a higher fee than the CDC was willing and/or authorized to pay. Since paying the initial $11 million for the long term lease the government has invested $7 million in the facilities. Those numbers are nothing compared to the $50 million and five years it would take to try to recreate facilities similar to this one of a kind research facility. 


On June 9, IMA-NA sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee requesting the authorization for the CDC to purchase the Lake Lynn facility, or more extremely exercise eminent domain and let the courts decide the compensation.  One thing is certain, the continued safety of our mines requires a test site such as Lake Lynn, and while eminent domain should always be used judiciously the need is great enough to consider it as a last resort. 

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Tags:  Lake Lynn  NIOSH  safety  studies 

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