A marcher holds a grim message during a black lung rally. Photographer and date unknown, courtesy of West Virginia and Regional History Collection, West Virginia University Libraries.
The Louisville Courier-Journal reported this weekend:
Long linked to underground coal mining, black-lung disease also strikes miners who work above ground … Those are the findings of a new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the first assessment in a decade of black-lung disease in surface miners.
It found that 46 of 2,257 surface miners tested during 2010-11 had black lung, meaning roughly 2 percent had the potentially deadly respiratory condition caused by inhaling coal dust. Twelve had the most severe form, and the majority never worked underground.
The story continued:
And black lung was much more prevalent among surface miners in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia than those in other coal-mining states studied — with 31 of the 46 cases from the three Central Appalachian states.That works out to 3.7 percent of the Central Appalachian miners, compared with 2 percent of all surface miners and about 3.2 percent of underground coal miners nationally.