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NIOSH black lung screening program takes to the road

Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Washington — In an effort to detect cases of black lung disease, NIOSH will offer free, confidential health screenings for current and former coal miners in Indiana and Texas.

Black lung is another name for coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, a deadly condition caused by exposure to respirable coal mine dust. Multiple studies show that cases are on the rise.

As part of the agency’s Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program, the NIOSH mobile testing unit is scheduled to conduct screenings April 17-20 in Carlisle, IN. After that, the unit will visit Longview, TX, on April 24-25, followed by a stop in Kosse, TX, on April 26-28. The series of screenings concludes with stops in the Texas towns of Jourdanton (May 1) and Christine (May 2-4).

Screenings last about 30 minutes and include:

  • Work history and respiratory questionnaires
  • Chest X-rays
  • Blood pressure screening
  • Lung function testing (spirometry)

“If black lung is caught early, steps can be taken to help prevent it from progressing to the most serious forms of the disease,” NIOSH Director John Howard said in a press release. “The NIOSH mobile unit provides underground, surface and contract miners with confidential screenings that can support next steps in reducing their exposure to coal dust.”

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