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NIOSH announces free health screenings for coal miners

Photo: Ron Levine/iStockphoto

Washington — NIOSH will offer a series of free, confidential health screenings for current and former coal miners as part of the agency’s Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program.

NIOSH’s mobile testing unit is scheduled to visit mining sites and community locations in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia in August to screen for early detection of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis – a deadly but preventable condition commonly known as black lung. The condition is caused by exposure to respirable coal mine dust.

The first set of screenings is scheduled for Aug. 9-12 in three Kentucky locations (Whitesburg, Buckhorn and Pikeville). The unit next will make five stops in Virginia (Hurley, Vansant, McClure, Appalachia and Norton) on Aug. 15-19, followed by four more in West Virginia (Naoma, Pax, Dawes and Mammoth) on Aug. 22-26. Further details are available on the CWHSP webpage, as well as on Facebook and Twitter @NIOSHBreathe.


Each screening lasts about 15 minutes and includes:

  • A work history and respiratory questionnaires
  • A chest X-ray
  • Lung function testing (spirometry)
  • A blood pressure screening

“Black lung disease can occur in miners who work in mines of all sizes,” NIOSH Director John Howard said in a press release. “Early detection of black lung disease allows underground, surface and contract miners to take the steps needed to keep it from progressing to severe lung disease.”

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