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Black lung on the rise

Remember Black Lung disease? That was that nasty illness that coal miners used to get back in the bad old days  when the mines were shrouded in dangerous dust,  before the Mine Safety and Health Administration came along to clean things up. Or so most of us thought–but it turns out that not only has Black Lung not been eliminated, it actually appears to be increasing.  NIOSH has found that the rate of Black Lung for miners with 20 years or more in the mines doubled between the late 1990s and 2005-06.  New MSHA Director Joe Main is on a mission to reverse this trend. MSHA’s “End Black Lung Now” webpage states that:  
“MSHA is implementing a comprehensive strategy that includes rulemaking, enhanced enforcement, collaborative outreach and education and training. The risk to a miner’s health can be reduced by controlling respirable coal mine dust exposures. It’s time to  End Black Lung  ACT NOW!”

The agency is sponsoring a series of public meetings on Black Lung throughout mining country this month.  Congrats to MSHA for taking this aggressive stance to protect miners’ health.  For more details, see the MSHA webpage.