Sand Mining Research
Silica Research at UWEC
Particulate and silica health risk research being conducted by Dr. Crispin Pierce and students in the Environmental Public Health Program has the following aims:
Review previous research and exposure standards for environmental and workplace exposure to "simple" or "nuisance" dust, particulate matter (PM10, PM4, PM2.5, and "respirable" dust particles), and crystalline silica (quartz) Record GPS coordinates, wind speed and direction, particulate matter (mass concentration and particle concentration), and crystalline silica concentration, and photograph locations surrounding Wisconsin sand mining, transporting and processing plants. Report measured particulate matter and crystalline silica concentrations and recommended exposure standards to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, industry, concerned citizens, and the environmental health community (through conference presentations and peer-reviewed publications).
A community effort for cleaner air
Faculty and students, at UWEC, along with community partners, conduct research related to silica sand mining and the possible environmental and health effects it has on the community. The ongoing research is beneficial to the community as well a great learning opportunity for students.
We are using a Dusttrak 8520 aerosol monitor and an SKC DPS gravimetric monitor, and reviewing DNR- and industry-generated data to address the following questions:
Are particulate pollution levels around sand mining, transporting and processing plants above the EPA 35 microgram/m3 24-hour or 12 microgramg/m3 annual standards for PM2.5 (particles 2.5 micrometers and smaller)? Are crystalline silica levels around these plants site above a nominal 3 ug/m3 exposure standard set by the State of California? Which factors (windspeed and direction, degree of plant activity, precipitation, etc.) are associated with increased PM2.5 levels? Research Answers
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