Horses were not only used to work in the mines – underground as “pit ponies,” but also to deliver the coal to houses, for heating and cooking during the 19th and early part of the 20th century. By the 1940’s Electricity and Gas had become more commonplace, even in the rural areas.
Having grown up in the country - Suffolk (East Anglia), one of my school friends’ father was the local coalman. I recall that he and his assistant were always covered in the coal dust, head to foot and they had special garments that were made of leather to covered their backs while lugging the coal into the customers “coal scuttles.”
By the time I was in my early teens, the horses had been replaced by the mighty “lorry,” or “truck.” The the horses were “put out to pasture,” which of course meant that they were now pets that were generally ridden by the children of the coal merchants or the upper class residents of the area.
Growing up in our English country cottage where the only heat was a coal fire we were glad of the local “coalman.” Generally, he was well respected in the village community, for without him and his trade, the only alternative materials to burn was wood, from the lust local “black forest.”
With the passing of the Mines & Collieries Act in 1842 (Miners Act 1842), English Parliament, which put an end to women, girls & boy under the age of 10 working in the underground mines, pit ponies were “harnessed” in to service.
Approximately 45 years later in 1887 the Coal Mines Regulation Act issued a “national” protection for horses working in the underground mines.
Of course England wasn’t the only country using “horse” power to mine the much needed coal to heat homes, cook meals and run the industrialized manufacturing.
Germany, Australia & Nova Scotia, to name but a few also used “Pit Ponies;” however, in America, mules were more plentiful than ponies, so were found in the coal mines in far greater numbers than the ponies.
According to the British National Coal Board, only 55 ponies were still in service in 1984, chiefly in the Northumberland area – Ellington Pit, down from 70,000 (yes, seventy thousand) in 1913. One of the last surviving ponies was called “Tony” who was reported to have died in 2011 at the grand ole age of 40, but “Robbie” who was thought to be the last colliery horse to work underground, retired in May 1999!
When the Centerville Pit, Iowa, closed in 1971, it was reported to be the last mine in the USA to have used pit ponies, whereas “Wharrier,” & “Mr. Ed,” of the Collinsville Coal’s No 2 Mine, Australia retired in 1990.
Any amount of DUST is dangerous – that is why OSHA enforces workplace dust hazard laws. Environmental laws to prevent fugitive dust hazards have been used and enforced for many years.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDEC), The World Health Organization (WHO), The American Lung Association (ALA), The Occupational Safety & Heath Administration (OSHA), The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), & the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), all confirm and warn the general public about the dangers of PM10 & PM2.5 Crystalline Silica.
For details on the definition of Crystalline Silica PM10 & PM2.5 Dust, see the “Dust is Hazardous – period” (Link).
There are several methods of dust control – most are less effective than ArenaKleen.
Watering: Easy, yes! Cost, depending on if you are using a “well” located on the property or not. How deep is the well in conjunction to the water table in your area and are the water tables at capacity due to weather. Is your area experiencing a “drought” or not? Being honest, most of us do not consider that possibility, but it bears consideration and will considerable affect the cost of watering.
The watering method: Water surrounds the sand particles, which creates loose footing until the water has evaporated. During the winter months the water can freeze, which makes the footing hard – do you want to be exercising your horses on a frozen surface?
Calcium & Magnesium Chlorides: These are “industrial salts,” which “draws” moisture from the air in order to keep the dirt/sand/footings moist. All well and good, unless you live and ride in an “arid” climate, like in the Southwest.
Points to consider with these Chlorides, they are very “hazardous,” even more so than the Crystalline Silica, when inhaled. They are easily washed away during a Rain Storm – not an issue for indoor arenas, unless you water a lot. However, “Run Off” from the Chlorides will kill vegetation and pollute our wetlands and streams. Chlorides will cause Metal, Horseshoes, tack and other equipment to corrode. Another consequence often overlooked…. is the corrosion damage to electrical and hydraulic systems on tractors and equipment.
When Sunlight shines through the windows in your arena, does it look like this?
These photos show the PM10 & PM2.5 size silica particles – seen in the sunlight beam, but they are still present even when they are not “highlighted” by sunlight. Where is this Silica? It’s in the footing of your arena.
“The definition of Crystalline Silica particles, size PM10 & PM2.5:
Crystalline silica is the basic component of soil, sand, granite and may other minerals. Quartz is the most common form of crystalline silica.
Crystalline silica has been classified as a human lung carcinogen. Additionally, breathing crystalline silica dust can cause silicosis, which in severe cases can be disabling, or even fatal. The respirable silica dust enters the lungs and causes the formation of scar tissue, thus reducing the lung’s ability to take in oxygen. 1 (A leading contributor to Pneumonia, Bronchitis and COPD)
PM10 & PM2.5 particle size can remain airborne for up to 24 hours and when inhaled these particles lodge deep into lung tissue and are a true health hazard…the public is generally not aware of the sever health effects of dust.”
1 OSHA: “Crystalline Silica Exposure” Health Hazard Information for Construction Employees. http://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3177.html.
FACTS to consider:
Nox Blending, Established in 2009 with the goal of contributing to the improvement of the environment around us. With a core focus on environmentally compatible products we seek to reduce the pollutants in our air and water from the ever increasing demand of new development and recreation opportunities.