Black Lung Disease: Concerning Cluster

US epidemiologists have pinpointed the largest reported cluster—416 cases—of advanced black lung disease, caused by inhalation of coal and silica dust in coal mines, in 3 clinics in central Appalachia.

"We've gone from having nearly eradicated PMF [progressive massive fibrosis] in the mid-1990s to the highest concentration of cases that anyone has ever seen," says National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health epidemiologist Scott Laney of the findings, published yesterday in a JAMA research letter.

Advocates express concern for the people still working in the mines, amid a Trump administration pledge to reexamine federal regulations designed to limit exposure to dangerous levels of coal and silica dust.

NPR All Things Considered

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