Black lung resurgence continues, study finds

19 Feb 2018 by under Research/Treatment

640px BLACK LUNG X RAYS FROM PATIENTS OF DR. A.H. RUSSAKOFF PULMONARY DISEASE SPECIALIST AND PIONEER AIR POLLUTION FIGHTER...   NARA   545474 100x100 Black lung resurgence continues, study findsUnfortunately, is far from being history. In fact, the occupational disease caused by breathing in coal dust is actually making a comeback, health experts report.

Black lung, or coal worker’s pneumoconiosis, is a disease that causes inflammation and scarring in the lungs that can cause coughing, shortness of breath and even death. The disease was a contributing factor in more than 76,000 coal miners deaths since 1968, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. And new research suggests the disease is on an upswing after it was almost eliminated after the passage of the Coal Mine and Health Safety Act of 1969.

A February 2018 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found 416 cases of black lung among 11,200 coal miners. The researches collected data from January 2013 to February 2017 at three federally funded black lung clinics in Virginia that primarily serve former coal miners. The study claims it’s the largest cluster ever found by researchers, according to WKRC Cincinnati. Of the cases examined, the largest number of coal miners with black lung resided in Virginia with 181, followed by Kentucky with 157.

These results come after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in its Dec. 16, 2016, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report that black lung is on the rise, especially in Appalachia. From January 2015 to August 2016, researchers identified more than 60 cases of black lung in a single radiologist’s practice that “represent a large cluster not discovered through routine surveillance.”

As with many forms of occupational lung exposure, it historically has taken years and even decades to develop symptoms of black lung.

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