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10 April 2018

United Sates: Black lung disease on the rise

An article published on 6 February 2018 in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health had identified 416 cases of progressive massive fibrosis, commonly called black lung disease, among coal miners in central Appalachia from 2013 to 2017. New cases of black lung had been rare until recently, but this study suggests that the incidence is rising.

"It's shocking and it shouldn't be happening," said Scott Laney, one of the authors of the study and a researcher with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Most of the miners identified in the study were retired and had worked in mines for more than 25 years. But more than 20 percent worked for 10 to 20 years before being diagnosed.

Progressive massive fibrosis is an irreversible disease caused by inhaling dust created during coal mining.

NIOSH estimates more than 76,000 miners have died from progressive massive fibrosis since 1968.

Source: AP, www.npr.org

Read more:

Blackley, David J., et al., Progressive Massive Fibrosis in Coal Miners From 3 Clinics in Virginia, JAMA, Research Letter, February 6, 2018

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