black lung disease

Benny Becker | Ohio Valley ReSource

Federal health researchers are visiting the Appalachian coalfields to recruit allies in the fight against black lung. A resurgence in the worst form of the disease may affect as many as 5 percent of experienced miners in the region. Benny Becker of the Ohio Valley ReSource reports.

Updated at 6:25 p.m. ET

Two Democratic members of Congress want three federal agencies to work together to get a more accurate count of coal miners suffering from progressive massive fibrosis, the worst stage of the fatal disease known as black lung.

The request is a response to an NPR investigation that shows 10 times as many cases of the advanced stage of black lung as identified and reported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Benny Becker | Ohio Valley ReSource

Black lung is back in Appalachia. The Ohio Valley ReSource teamed with NPR to investigate the dramatic increase in cases of the deadliest form of the disease. In this two-part report, Benny Becker profiles one of the afflicted miners. The story begins in Pike County, Kentucky, where Dr. James Brandon Crum diagnoses a coal miner who is fighting for breath.

US Geological Survey, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Coal miners who work in small mines are more than twice as likely to contract the most serious form of black lung disease, according to a new federal study. 

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes unveiled a plan Thursday to improve mine safety and address black lung diseases—an offensive campaign move on the Kentucky coal issue.

Her plan also takes Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell to task for vowing to repeal a key provision in the Affordable Care Act that helps coal miners receive benefits for black lung disease.

Jack Corn / Environmental Protection Agency-National Archives

 

Kentucky coal miners seeking workers compensation for black lung may get a new way to battle denied claims.

In a 2011 Kentucky Supreme Court case of Vision Mining, Inc v. Gardner, the state’s highest court found that the methodology for reaching consensus on disputed X-rays of coal miners with black lung was unconstitutional.

Department of Workers’ Claims Commissioner Dwight Lovan says the ruling affects about 3,000 finalized black lung claims over the past decade.

wikipedia.org

Over the decades, great gains have been made in reducing black lung disease among coal miners. But, recently, there’s been an uptick in the sometimes fatal condition. 

Fifty years ago, Central Appalachian Education and Research Center Director Wayne Sanderson said about a third of all miners contracted black lung.  Today, the potentially deadly disease afflicts about four to five percent of miners.  And, Sanderson said, that number’s climbing.

NPR

From NPR: Cases of Black Lung surge as an investigation by NPR and CPI uncovers regulators' inability to control a deadly disease.

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NPR reports more and more dad's are going it alone, choosing to be single fathers.

wikipedia.org

A new study shows black lung disease isn’t limited to just coal miners who work underground.  Studies for coal workers’ pneumoconiosis—or black lung disease—haven’t been done on surface miners in a decade, and the miners were commonly thought to be less at risk for the disease than underground workers.