In its deadly resurgence, black lung disease is more common among Appalachia’s coal miners than previously reported by government research, which relied on voluntary testing of working miners.
A new set of studies uncovered a “relentless and increasing progression of disease” which is preventable and should have been long since eradicated, says Robert Cohen, a study author.
From 2011-2016, federal research counted just 99 black lung cases nationwide. By tracking federal benefit claims dating back to 1970, Cohen’s team found over 4,600 cases of severe black lung. More than half of the cases they uncovered were in the last 16 years.