Black Lung Study Finds Biggest Cluster Ever of Fatal Coal Miners’ Disease
Epidemiologists at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health say they’ve identified the largest cluster of advanced black lung disease ever reported, a cluster that was first uncovered by NPR 14 months ago.
In a research letter published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, NIOSH confirms 416 cases of progressive massive fibrosis or complicated black lung in three clinics in central Appalachia from 2013 to 2017.
“This is the largest cluster of progressive massive fibrosis ever reported in the scientific literature,” says Scott Laney, a NIOSH epidemiologist involved in the study.
“We’ve gone from having nearly eradicated PMF in the mid-1990s to the highest concentration of cases that anyone has ever seen,” he said.