Tags: black | lung | disease | miner | comeback

Black Lung Disease Makes Comeback

Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 04:58 PM

Coal miners in Central Appalachia are suffering rates of severe black lung disease not seen since coal dust was first regulated about 40 years ago, according to federal researchers.
 
A new study indicates the disease has roared back faster in the region than previously thought and comes as the coal industry and the Obama administration are locked in a legal battle about stricter coal-dust regulations that took effect Aug. 1, the Wall Street Journal reports. 
 
In 2012, the rate of severe black lung in miners in West Virginia, Virginia, and Kentucky reached 3.2 percent, up from a low of 0.4 percent in 1998, according to findings published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. In 1974, the level was 3.3 percent for miners in those states.
 
More powerful machines that grind coal into finer particles could be to blame, safety experts say. They also suspect that mining the region's thinner coal seams is churning up more rock and hazardous dust.
 
The study — by researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — analyzed results from a long-term program in which miners periodically undergo chest X-rays.
 
"We had a general sense that especially in Central Appalachia we were seeing a comeback, but all of us were very surprised by these latest numbers," said David Blackley, a NIOSH researcher who published the data.

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Coal miners are suffering rates of severe black lung disease not seen since coal dust was first regulated about 40 years ago, according to federal researchers.
black, lung, disease, miner, comeback
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2014-58-16
Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 04:58 PM
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