MSHA Posts Online ‘Black Lung’ Alert, Makes Resources Available

Newly released information from the NIOSH/MSHA Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Programs indicates that severe cases of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP), commonly referred to as “black lung” disease, continue to occur among the nation’s underground coal miners.

MSHA says this is most troubling due to the fact that these new cases include progressive massive fibrosis (PMF), the most disabling and potentially fatal form of CWP, among some of the younger miners in our industry.

Inhalation of excessive levels of respirable coal mine dust causes black lung, a debilitating occupational lung disease, which can devastate a miner’s quality of life, create a heavy burden on the victim and his or her family, and lead to premature death. More importantly, black lung disease is preventable.

MSHA has made online resources available at www.msha.gov/FocusOn/ControltheDust2007/ControltheDust2007.asp, these include links to a letter from Richard Stickler, assistant secretary for Mine Safety and Health; an upcoming workshop flyer; an upcoming workshop agenda; a single source page on black lung; an informational poster; and a pdf campaign logo.

In addition, Health Hazard cards are available that are titled "What is Black Lung?," "On-Shift Examination of Respirable Dust Controls at Underground Coal Mines" and "Respirable Dust Control for Miners and Mine Operators."

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