An epidemiological study of salt miners in diesel and nondiesel mines

Am J Ind Med. 1983;4(3):435-58. doi: 10.1002/ajim.4700040305.


A cross-sectional study of 5 NaCl mines and 259 miners addressed the following questions: 1) Is there an association of increased respiratory symptoms, radiographic findings, and reduced pulmonary function with exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and/or respirable particulate (RP) among these miners? 2) Is there increased morbidity of these miners compared to other working populations? Personal samples of NO2 and respirable particulate for jobs in each mine were used to estimate cumulative exposure. NO2 is used as a surrogate measure of diesel exposure. Cough was associated with age and smoking, dyspnea with age; neither symptom was associated with exposure (years worked, estimated cumulative NO2 or RP exposure). Phlegm was associated with age, smoking, and exposure. Reduced pulmonary function (FVC, FEV1, peak, flow, FEF50, FEF75) showed no association with exposure. There was one case of small rounded and one case of small irregular opacities; pneumoconiosis was not analyzed further. Compared to underground coal miners, above ground coal miners, potash miners, and nonmining workers, the study population after adjustment for age and smoking generally showed no increased prevalence of cough, phlegm, dyspnea, or obstruction (FEV1/FVC less than 0.7). Obstruction in younger salt miners and phlegm in older salt miners was elevated compared to nonmining workers. Mean predicted pulmonary function was reduced 2-4% for FEV1 and FVC, 7-13% for FEF50, and 18-22% for FEF75 below all comparison populations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants / poisoning*
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / poisoning*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mining*
  • Nitrogen Dioxide / poisoning*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Pulmonary Ventilation
  • Salts / poisoning*
  • Smoking
  • Sodium Chloride*
  • Time Factors
  • United States


  • Air Pollutants
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Salts
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Nitrogen Dioxide