“Faces of Black Lung” Video Shows Effects on Young Miners
A new video released by NIOSH focuses on black lung, or coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, among young miners and features interviews with three miners who are in their 30s and 40s. The informational video is a follow-up to the agency’s first “Faces of Black Lung” video, which was published in 2008 and featured miners in their 50s. NIOSH’s new video is intended to show that black lung is no longer a disease that affects only older miners. The agency hopes that testimony from miners and commentary from medical professionals will help raise awareness of the personal costs of black lung disease and motivate miners to participate in free, confidential health screenings offered under the agency’s Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program. The program provides the opportunity for miners to have a chest X-ray, a breathing test, and a respiratory assessment performed every five years at a nearby clinic. According to NIOSH, rates of black lung disease have more than doubled over the last 15 years. The agency urges miners to take action to detect the early signs of black lung. When the disease is caught early, miners can take steps to keep it from progressing to severe lung disease. “Faces of Black Lung II” has a runtime of approximately 20 minutes and includes information on the history of miner protections in the United States. NIOSH intends to disseminate the video to coal miners upon request, coal mine operators, physicians, industrial hygienists, trainers, and others interested in the health of coal miners. Both the new video and the 2008 video can be accessed via NIOSH’s website. Further details are available in the agency’s press release.