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Experts Note Growth for Air Pack Orders

Wednesday July 5, 5:28 pm ET
By Daniel Lovering, AP Business Writer

Mine Accidents, New Regulations Expand Market for Emergency Oxygen Devices

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Recent coal mine disasters and historic safety legislation have spurred growth in the small but increasingly active market for emergency oxygen devices, industry officials and analysts say.

Orders for the air packs have spiked in recent months and regulators have consulted with entrepreneurs and companies about new features that could improve the chances of survival for miners trapped underground.

Rising demand for the devices, known as self-contained self-rescuers, comes after explosions at two mines -- West Virginia's Sago and Darby in southeastern Kentucky -- left 17 miners dead earlier this year.

The tragedies prompted the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration to toughen safety standards temporarily while Congress prepared the first major overhaul of mine safety laws in nearly three decades.
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