Uptick in black lung
According to Reuters, more than 10 percent of America’s coal miners with more than 25 years on the job have black-lung disease, which was nearly wiped out in the 1990s.
Possible reasons for the outbreak in cases include mining in played-out coal seams and the indictment of 14 Kentucky safety officials for lying to federal officials about dust levels and safety regulations.
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How many miners smoke?
A recent Herald-Leader article stated that 20 percent of Central Appalachian coal miners with more than 25 years of experience were found to have black-lung disease.
It would be interesting to know what percentage of non-smoking miners with the same experience was similarly diagnosed. I suspect it would be significantly lower. If so, that would seem to lower the disability compensation to which smoking miners are entitled. Just a thought.
Mike Daugherty, M.D.