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  • Heather Cummings

Poor Air Quality Puts Chilean Miners at Risk

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

The world breathed a deep sigh of relief last week when the thirty-three Chilean miners were rescued after sixty-nine days below ground. While the rescue mission went off without a hitch, the Chilean miners have a long road of recovery ahead.

Tom N. Petersen, President of Environmental and Engineering Solutions Inc., discussed the possible health implications of the poor air quality these miners were exposed to during their time below ground.

“Mines today have a number of regulations to ensure proper ventilation systems, and that gas levels are within a safe range,” said Petersen. “However, when a mine unexpectedly collapses, such as the San Jose Mine, these systems can be compromised.”

Even within a properly operating mine, gas build-ups, known as damps, can quickly appear and place miners in serious danger. In a situation such as this, when there is no way to escape the dangerous gas pockets, the risk to workers increases. Long-term exposure to air contaminants including mold and dust can lead to health impacts including respiratory infections, and given the grim conditions the miners were trapped in, this is a significant concern.

This is just one example of the effect air quality has on health. To learn more about this issue, and see if your company is doing all it can, contact Tom Petersen at or 215-881-9401.



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