Respirable nano-particulate generations and their pathogenesis in mining workplaces: a review

Long Fan, Shimin Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


There is a growing concern in mining community about the contribution of nano-particulates to miner’s health. Despite the health influence of respirable dusts and associated lung diseases have been recognized for decades in the mining industry, the nano-scale particulates accompanying with complicated physiochemical properties and their enormous contribution in quantity have been drawing attentions only in recent a few years because of the advancement of nano-science discipline. In this review, we examine the current regulations of dusts exposure and the dominant mass-based monitoring methods to point out the ignorance of nano-particulates in mining industry. The recognized mining-related nano-particulates sources are summarized to identify the mechanically generated finer particulates including particles and aerosols. In addition, the mechanism of adverse health impact on miner with exposure to nano-scale particulates is discussed in a detail to emphasize their substantial detriment as a potential respiratory hazard. Characterization of the complex physiochemical properties of nano-particulates are then summarized and discussed because these properties could be different from regular respirable dusts due to their dramatically increased surface area and particulate counts. The intent of this review is to demonstrate the potential of adverse health effect of nano-particulate on the mine personals throughout the mining cycle and to identify the research gaps of the mine nano-particulate characterization and quantification. We suggest that further understanding of the mining induced nano-particulate properties and their pathogenesis are critical for the future engineering control measure to mitigate the potential health threat for future miners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-198
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Coal Science and Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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