Australian state sees first black lung case since 1970s

8 Feb 2017 by under News

640px BLACK LUNG X RAYS FROM PATIENTS OF DR. A.H. RUSSAKOFF PULMONARY DISEASE SPECIALIST AND PIONEER AIR POLLUTION FIGHTER...   NARA   545474 100x100 Australian state sees first black lung case since 1970sNew South Wales, a state in southeastern Australia, has confirmed its first case of disease since the 1970s. The NSW Department of Industry Resources confirmed last week it had been alerted to a case of Mixed Dust Coal Workers Pneumoconiosis, known commonly as black lung disease. Black lung is a form of occupational lung disease, as is mesothelioma, and both often take decades to develop. The two have similar symptoms, but differ in that black lung disease is not cancerous. It is a “type of lung disease affecting the tissues and gas-exchange surface of the lung,” often associated with dust from long-term coal mining and resulting in shortness of breath, loss of pulmonary function and eventually death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Newcastle Herald reports the person affected worked in a number of open cut mines, which involves extraction from an open pit, before retiring from the industry in 2014.

“Even though this insidious disease has not been confirmed in NSW for decades, one case of pneumoconiosis is one case too many,” said Resources Regulator Chief Compliance Officer Lee Shearer. “The priority is to ensure the worker is getting the best possible level of support and care, and as part of this process I ask that we respect the worker’s request to maintain their absolute privacy. Further, the Major Investigation Unit of the Resources Regulator is investigating how this case has happened and if there have been any breaches of the work health and safety laws.”

Lucy Flemming, managing director and chief executive officer of Coal Services, said no indication of any other black lung cases has been presented in the state, but workers can contact the government with any questions. The Newcastle Herald notes NSW has a comprehensive regulatory scheme in place, including specific mining health and safety legislation and the NSW Mine Safety Advisory Council.

 

Comments are closed.