Following Ranking Member Scott’s Call, MSHA Proposes New Rule to Protect Coal Miners from Cancers, Silicosis, and Black Lung Disease

WASHINGTON Today, Ranking Member Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) commended the Mine Safety and Health Administration for its proposed rule to improve the respirable crystalline silica standard.

Silica dust inhaled on the job is a grave threat to miners’ health. When it is inhaled and becomes trapped in lung tissues, silica dust causes scarring and inflammation. It can then cause silicosis, a progressive and incurable disease characterized by a reduction in the lung’s capacity to take in oxygen. Silica is also associated with lung cancer, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), chronic kidney disease, and an array of autoimmune diseases.

“Today’s announcement is an important step toward protecting the health and safety of workers and their families from life-threatening consequences of relaxed regulations on silica.

“Experts in the federal government and private industry have repeatedly stressed the hazard of respirable silica and counseled the Department of Labor to adopt more stringent protections for silica exposure over the course of nearly 50 years. Moving forward, I will work with the Biden Administration to ensure there are no further delays with the proposed rule, and workers and their families finally have the protection they need.”

Recently, Ranking Member Scott sent a letter to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) requesting an update on the status of the proposed silica rule. Read the full text of the letter here.


Press Contact

Democratic Press Office, 202-226-0853