IMA-Europe has acknowledged that the concern for general dust exposure at the workplaces has significantly grown in recent years, notably even more under the triggering of the crystalline silica issue. Indeed, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified crystalline silica as a carcinogen to humans in 1997. In addition, there are threshold limits established by the European legislation for mineral dust.

Therefore, the Board of IMA-Europe recognised the vital need to be able to document dust exposure in the mineral industry in order to be in a position to discuss with regulatory authorities.

For this purpose, IMA–Europe commissioned in 2000 the Cnam-IHIE Ouest (Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers des Pays de la Loire – Institut d’Hygiène Industrielle et de l’Environnement) to prepare an IMA-Europe industrial hygiene programme. In a first step, the project leader, Dr Guy Auburtin and his team reviewed dust monitoring practices in IMA-Europe member companies. As a result, it appeared that documentation on dust exposure in our sector went through the implementation of a protocol on dust exposure assessment. This protocol should be representative of the actual situations and compatible with the current monitoring strategies and the European legislation.

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