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The Occupational Health team Associate Professors Jacques Oosthuizen and Sue Reed together with Professor Wei Wang, Dr Margaret Davidson and Dr Martyn Cross, in collaboration with researchers from the School of Engineering are assessing exposure to coal dust. Industry partners include the coal industry and government regulators.
Current health surveillance focuses on assessment of pulmonary function and chest x-rays which only identify disease after irreversible damage has already occurred. There is a need to explore emerging information and identify new biological markers that will aid in the early, pre-symptomatic diagnosis of disease onset and identification of susceptible sub-groups within the mine workers population.
ECU’s research team believes there is an urgent need to change traditional health surveillance in the coal mining industry. The technology is available to develop a state of the art approach for evaluating the toxicology of coal dusts by simultaneous monitoring of particle composition and in vitro approaches to modelling cellular response to insult and injury.
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