Black Lung on Rise in Mines, Reversing Trend - WSJ.com
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has found that roughly 9% of workers with 25 years or more in mines tested positive for black lung in 2005-2006, the latest published data, up from about 4% in the late 1990s. The rates also doubled for people with 20 to 24 years in mining, including many in their 30s and 40s, according to NIOSH, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A miner once told me he was waiting on his retirement "Black Lung Disability". It wasn't a matter of if he gets black lung it was when. He knew it and it didn't seem to even phase him to say it out loud. He was caring for his family and that was his main focus. The miners really are a breed of their own.
"It is time to end black lung," said Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor in charge of the Mine Safety and Health Administration, as he addressed more than 200 miners gathered last week at a Ramada Inn here. MSHA, which is part of the Labor Department and enforces federal mining law, will consider proposing regulations to cut in half the permissible levels of coal dust in mines and to require miners to wear dust monitors throughout their shifts.
Addressing the miners in person is a good sign. The lat MSHA hearing were held as far away from the mines as possible causing a hardship on the miners and families if they wish to get involved. Maybe we will see some changes only time will tell but one thing is for sure the families who have been fighting will always be there. Kudos to them all, keep up the good work.