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On a cool but clear November day about a dozen residents from eastern Kentucky’s coal mining region crowded into the lobby of an office building in the small town of London, Kentucky. That’s where Kentucky’s powerful senior senator, Mitch McConnell, has his local field office. McConnell’s staff let the local advocates for black lung treatment… Read More
Amid a surge in cases of black lung disease, concerns are rising about the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, which provides federal benefits to some coal miners with the disease. A tax that supports the fund would be cut by half at the end of the year unless Congress acts. Now Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicates… Read More
Retired coal miners and coal community activists are on Capitol Hill this week urging action on two important issues for miners: pensions and black lung benefits. Advocates say funds supporting both pensions for retired miners and the federal benefits for those sickened by black lung disease are at risk if Congress does not act. Pension… Read More
When former coal mine employees in western Kentucky faced arraignment Wednesday on federal charges that they conspired to falsify the required monitoring of coal dust, the hearing brought renewed attention to the region’s surge in black lung disease. The case highlights the many challenges miners face in the workplace. And health officials in black lung clinics… Read More
A mobile health clinic is touring different coal towns in Ohio to help miners find out if they have black lung disease. The goal is to detect the disease early before it gets worse. Miners will be able to walk into a large trailer and receive a chest exam, a breathing test and more to see if they have… Read More
Investigations Correspondent Howard Berkes talks about his recent work on “Black Lung Returns To Coal Country,” a series he has reported off-and-on for years.
In central Appalachia, one in five working coal miners with at least 25 years experience underground now suffers from the deadly disease black lung, according to a new study.
A new study by federal health officials finds the recent surge in cases of black lung disease is especially concentrated among coal miners in central Appalachia. Researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health say the rate of black lung disease among experienced miners in central Appalachia is the highest they have seen in a quarter century…. Read More
A new report from the National Academy of Sciences says the coal mining industry needs a “fundamental shift” in the way it controls exposure to coal and rock dust in order to prevent lung disease among miners. Despite improvements such as an Obama-era rule to strengthen monitoring and control of dust in mines, the experts on the… Read More
A new study from the Government Accountability Office finds that the federal fund supporting coal miners with black lung disease could be in financial trouble without congressional action. As NPR has reported, the GAO found that the fund’s debt could rise dramatically at the same time that black lung disease is surging. Most federal benefits… Read More