Assessment of potential biases in the application of MSHA respirable coal mine dust data to an epidemiologic study

Am Ind Hyg Assoc J. 1990 Oct;51(10):534-40. doi: 10.1080/15298669091370059.


Systematic errors in exposure data will result in biased estimates of the exposure-response relationship derived from epidemiologic analyses. Thus, adjustment of exposure data to account for identified errors may provide for a more accurate assessment of effect. In preparing to apply respirable coal mine dust exposure data collected by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to a study of the pulmonary status of underground coal miners, an assessment of potential systematic errors was undertaken. Potential errors stemming from adjustment of controls during sampling, concentration-dependent sampling, truncation of sampling results, identified sampling equipment problems, and a disproportionate number of low concentration samples in mine operator-collected samples were identified and evaluated. Methods to account for these errors and adjust mean exposures by mine, occupation, and year are given.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bias*
  • Coal / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Research Design / standards
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / chemically induced
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / epidemiology*
  • United States
  • United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration


  • Coal