Black Lung is Back—and Far More Destructive

After decades of decline, black lung disease is back in Appalachia in a particularly lethal form.

Nearly 500 coal miners—the largest cluster ever recorded—have been diagnosed with complicated black lung disease, a devastating end-stage condition. Worse, many of the patients are younger and have worked in mines for less than 20 years.

Experts primarily blame silica dust, produced by crushing the rock surrounding thinner coal seams, which damages lungs more swiftly than coal dust. In December, the Trump administration dismayed safety experts by announcing a review of Obama’s 2014 coal dust regulations that addressed dust exposure for the first time.

New York Times

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