Deadly Black Lung Disease Resurgent Among Coal Miners

–More than 2,000 cases of progressive massive fibrosis in last 2 decades

by Salynn Boyles, Contributing Writer, 

SAN DIEGO — Despite stricter rules aimed at reducing dust levels from coal extraction, there has been an increase in incidence of a particularly deadly form of black lung disease among the nation’s coal miners, researchers reported here.

The confirmation of an increase in progressive massive fibrosis (PMF) across the coal mining industry follows several reports of outbreaks in isolated coal mining regions, including a 2016 CDC report of 60 PMF cases identified at a single radiology clinic in eastern Kentucky.

Earlier this year, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reported more than 550 cases of PMF occurring in three clinics in southwestern Virginia since 2013 — the largest cluster of advanced black lung disease ever reported in the U.S.

The newly reported analysis of U.S. Department of Labor data on coal miners collected since 1970 identified 4,679 cases of PMF, with half occurring among miners presenting for evaluation after 2000.

The analysis was presented May 22 at ATS 2018, the annual international conference of the American Thoracic Society.

See MedPage Today for full article.

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