December 6 is National Miners Day, a day designated by Congress to honor the contributions and sacrifices of miners both past and present.
Mining has a long and proud tradition in the United States which continues to this day. About 366,000 miners today extract nearly 100 different kinds of minerals from the earth, including coal, gold, copper, silver, granite, limestone, granite, salt, gravel, and many more.
They work in every one of the fifty states, and provide the raw materials for heat, electricity, roads and bridges, and countless consumer products, from electronics to cosmetics. Even toothpaste is composed of minerals obtained by miners.
In a blog, John Howard, MD, Director, NIOSH, said: “Though it tends to melt into our daily landscape, the evidence of the mining industry’s efforts is all around us. It is found in the power that lights our homes, mixed in the sand and gravel that make up concrete, and embedded in the precious minerals and metals that are found in nearly anything with an ‘on’ switch, including the cell phones that are never far from our hands.”
Howard added: “….And while the contributions to our economy from mining are many, they also come with serious safety and health risks for miners. The NIOSH Mining Program’s rich history and ongoing research continue to contribute meaningful improvements to the way miners work and the methods by which mines can keep their workers healthy and safe.”