Working in mines is not only one of the most physically dangerous occupations, it also has other health risks associated with breathing contaminated air.
That contamination varies depending on the mine. And the amount that a worker breaths depends on the efficiency of the ventilation. In modern mines ventilation is often very good, but historically people might mine where there was no air circulation at all, except what happened naturally, by chance.
The problems with contamination vary with what’s being mined. If it’s salt — there’s really not much of a problem. People need some salt just to stay alive. While it’s true that some salt miners don’t want to use salt on their meals — because apparently they’ve had enough! — salt mines are considered quite environmentally safe. And that’s true even to the extent of storing precious objects in them, and even living in them!
Unfortunately, when the material being mined is itself toxic, then there are bound to be bigger problems for the miners. When asbestos fragments it creates tiny particles that lodge in the lungs. Those eventually may cause all kinds of health problems.
If salt mining is one of your first choices as a miner, asbestos is one of your last choices. (Small pun intended.)
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