Faces of Black Lung II
Faces of Black Lung II
A follow-up to the Faces of Black Lung I video, Faces of Black Lung II is an informational video with testimonials with miners that have the disease who are younger (30s & 40s) than the miners who appeared in the first “Faces” video (50s) and commentary from medical experts. The miner’s stories provide the full impact of this disease that is still a very serious risk to coal miners today.
Black lung disease is preventable. However, coal miners of all ages are still being diagnosed with and dying from the disease. Transferring to less dusty jobs and participating in health screenings can help eliminate black lung.
In 2018, there were an estimated 83,000 working coal miners in the United States. (MSHA 2018 Data) Each of these miners went to work every day to support their families, but also to help provide the energy that nearly half of Americans relied on for their daily needs. All workers deserve a safe and healthy working environment, including coal miners. The 1969 Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act was intended to protect these miners, in part by setting a permissible exposure limit for respirable coal mine dust as well as a respiratory health surveillance program.
One of the biggest risks to coal miner’s health over time is exposure to respirable coal mine dust. Black lung is caused by breathing in too much coal mine dust. Unfortunately, the rates of black lung have been increasing since the late 1990s. For example, as of the filming of this video, 1 in 5 coal miners with 25 or more years of tenure in central Appalachia have black lung. However, NIOSH sees cases of black lung in every state where coal is mined.
Although black lung can be fatal, if it is caught at an earlier stage, a miner can use a right afforded to them by the 1969 Act, referred to as the Part 90 transfer right, to transfer to a less dusty job. The hope is that if a miner with black lung can avoid further coal mine dust exposure the progression of their disease could be reduced. Black lung screening and Part 90 can help protect the health of coal miners.
Coal miners, coal mine operators, physicians, industrial hygienists, and trainers.
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