What is driving the spike in black lung disease among coal miners?

“We know that coal and silica dusts increase the risk for development of black lung disease, but we don’t know much about how mixtures behave and what combinations are worse for lung health,” said Dr. Leonard Go, assistant professor of environmental and occupational health sciences in the UIC School of Public Health and an investigator on the grant. “We want to be able to create ‘mine dust risk profiles’ for pulmonary disease that can be used to inform policy and improve regulations limiting exposure to these dusts.”

In the Media

Conference

Frontline did a special on black lung featuring Dr. Robert Cohen! The episode aired on January 22, 2019. Click the link below to view the full episode.

December 12th, 2019: Mine Dust Reforms in Queensland Among the Best in the World

Worker Completes a Lung Function Test

Dr. Robert Cohen from the University of Illinois at Chicago states that the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, industry and unions in Queensland have collaborated to create among the best health surveillance programs for coal miners in the world.

“While there is always work to be done to ensure the system continues to deliver its improved performance—Queensland’s health surveillance of coal miners is now the envy of the world”

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October 29, 2019: America's largest private coal miner files for bankruptcy

Map

The slow death of the American coal industry has forced Murray Energy, the largest private coal miner in the United States, to file for bankruptcy protection Tuesday.

Murray Energy’s bankruptcy has been telegraphed for years…

October 23, 2019: House Natural Resources Committee advances miners’ pension and retiree health care bills

(WASHINGTON, DC) The House Natural Resources Committee yesterday passed HR 934, the Health Benefits For Miners Act, and HR 935, the Miners Pension Protection Act, by unanimous voice votes. The committee action clears the way for these critical bills to be voted on by the full House of Representatives.

June 20, 2019: Breathless and Betrayed: What is MSHA Doing to Protect Miners from the Resurgence of Black Lung Disease?

Livestream of the House Committee on Education and Labors meeting titled “Breathless and Betrayed: What is MSHA Doing to Protect Miners from the Resurgence of Black Lung Disease?”

June 19, 2019: As Congressional Panel Focuses On Black Lung, UMW Urges Stronger Health Protections

“As Congress hears testimony on the epidemic of black lung disease among Appalachian miners, two labor leaders are calling on Congress and regulators to do more to protect miners.
In a letter to the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, or MSHA, the United Mine Workers of America and the United Steel Workers of America urged stricter…”

May 23, 2019: Black lung disease continues to surge in Eastern Kentucky. New research suggests why.

Eastern Kentucky has been experiencing a surge in black lung disease cases. New mining methods that churn up silica-laden rock are likely responsible for the surge of black lung disease that has afflicted hundreds of miners across Central Appalachia in recent years, according to new research presented at the American Thoratic Society’s annual meeting this week…

 

May 21, 2019: More Coal Miners Are Dying From Black Lung, and These Researchers May Know Why

New research presented Monday at the annual American Thoracic Society Conference shows that the worst form of black lung—a disease most prevalent among coal mine workers—is on the rise, placing recent generations of miners at greater risk of dying from the respiratory disease than earlier ones.

March 19, 2019: A Movement to Transform Coal Miners Into Beekeepers is Great News for the Planet

As coal miners shutter across West Virginia, a nonprofit is helping unemployed miners and low-income residents make money by raising bees and selling their honey. It’s extra for them and a big bonus for local ecosystems.

January 22, 2019: Coals Deadly Dust

Frontline did a special on black lung featuring Dr. Robert Cohen! The episode aired on January 22, 2019. Click the link below to view the full episode.