black lung

Jesse Wright

While President Trump is wrapping up a week of energy talks in Washington highlighting the benefits of coal, health and industry experts met in Morgantown, West Virginia, to discuss the resurgence of black lung disease among miners.


Benny Becker - Ohio Valley ReSource

Federal health researchers are visiting health clinics and medical schools in the Appalachian coalfields to recruit allies in the fight a resurgence of Black Lung Disease.

The worst form of the disease may affect as many as 5 percent of experienced working miners in the region, and the researchers fear that rate could be even higher among retired miners.  


A bipartisan group of legislators has asked President Donald Trump to make more money available for black lung health clinics as they face an increase in cases of the disease among coal miners.  

More than 20 clinics would benefit from the $3.3 million increase lawmakers are requesting. The clinics provide miners with health screenings, medical care, and assistance in securing black lung benefits.

The lawmakers wrote in a letter to the president and the White House budget director that the level of funding for clinics has been frozen for the past five years.  

Benny Becker - Ohio Valley ReSource

At the age of 38, a coal miner named Mackie Branham Jr. was diagnosed with progressive massive fibrosis, a debilitating and terminal form of an illness that was supposed to be a disease of the past — black lung. But Branham is among many miners afflicted by a resurgence in the disease, and officials are just beginning to realize the scope of the problem. A review of health clinic records shows roughly a thousand such cases, many times more than federal officials had thought existed.

 

Howard Berkes - NPR

NPR is reporting this week on a sharp increase in the number of Appalachian coal miners with the worst form of black lung.

The Ohio Valley ReSource partnered with NPR to better understand what this means for miners and mining communities. Jeff Young spoke with NPR investigative reporter Howard Berkes about why this deadly but preventable disease is on the rise.