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NIOSH black lung screening program to visit 4 states

Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Washington — Aiming to identify cases of black lung disease in current and former miners, NIOSH will provide free, confidential health screenings in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

Black lung is another name for coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, a deadly condition caused by exposure to respirable coal mine dust. Numerous 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 set to conduct screenings on April 16 in Waynesburg, PA, and April 23-25 in Beaver, WV. The unit then is scheduled to make the following stops:

  • June 4-6: Pipestem, WV
  • July 23-25: Morgantown, WV
  • July 30: Kingwood, WV
  • Aug. 5: Washington, PA
  • Aug. 6: Wheeling, WV
  • Aug. 7: Cambridge, OH
  • Aug. 8: Zanesville, OH
  • Sept. 10: Bluefield, WV
  • Sept. 11: Pounding Mill, VA
  • Sept. 12: Abingdon, VA

Screenings last about 30 minutes and include:

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

“The NIOSH mobile unit plays an important role in the early detection of black lung disease,” NIOSH Director John Howard said in a press release. “When caught early, steps can be taken to help prevent black lung from progressing to the most serious forms of the disease.”

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