black lung disease

Courtesy Serena Stanley

 Charles Wayne Stanley ran underground mining machines for some 20 years, cutting coal from beneath the hills where Virginia meets Kentucky along the Cumberland ridge. He spent another decade as a roof bolter, work that kept the rock above from falling in on his fellow miners.

Adelina Lancianese / NPR

Lynn Estel Stanley was the kind of coal mine foreman who wanted to know if there was a safety problem, and would always be the one to go fix it himself. He was also the kind of miner who refused to slow down, even when his men told him he was overexerting himself. But when he was 69, his doctor told him it was time to stop for good.

Vivian Stockman and Southwings

Appalachian surface coal miners are consistently overexposed to toxic silica dust, according to new research from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and surface mine dust contains more silica than does dust in underground coal mines. 

Seoterra / 123rf

In the wake of an NPR and PBS Frontline investigation into the surge in cases of black lung disease, a coalition of black lung clinics is calling for action to better protect coal miners from dust exposure.

Becca Schimmel / WKYU

Eight former employees of two western Kentucky coal mines entered not guilty pleas at an arraignment hearing Wednesday. Those defendants are being federally charged with cheating on safety monitoring which is meant to reduce the risk of black lung disease.

Becca Schimmel / Ohio Valley ReSource

Western Kentucky District U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman didn’t hide his emotion when announcing federal charges against a coal company for faking coal dust samples. 

WKMS File Photo

Eight former supervisors and safety officers at a Kentucky coal company were indicted Wednesday on federal charges that they rigged dust monitoring in underground mines, forcing miners to work in the kind of dirty conditions that can lead to black lung disease.

Amidst Black Lung Surge, Kentucky Changes Benefits For Miners

Mar 28, 2018
Howard Berkes, NPR

As Appalachian miners are suffering a surge in black lung disease, lawmakers in Kentucky this week approved changes to a benefits program that critics say will make it harder for sick miners to get help. Kentucky’s House Bill 2 restricts which physicians decide a miner’s eligibility for state benefits.

C-Span Video via Ohio Valley Resource

The Trump administration’s Office of Management and Budget has announced a review of an Obama-era rule that protects coal miners from exposure to the dust that causes black lung disease. That has some health and safety advocates concerned.

Benny Becker | Ohio Valley ReSource

Federal health researchers are visiting the Appalachian coalfields to recruit allies in the fight against black lung. A resurgence in the worst form of the disease may affect as many as 5 percent of experienced miners in the region. Benny Becker of the Ohio Valley ReSource reports.

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