Rates of black lung disease double in a decade
Rates of black lung disease have doubled in the last decade, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The disease, which is caused by inhaling coal dust, now occurs in almost 10 percent of coal miners who work 25 or more years underground, as opposed to about 4 percent a decade ago. Safety standards enacted in 1969 were supposed to prevent black lung altogether, but, uh, that hasn’t so much happened. Black-lung expert Dr. Robert Cohen says the respirable-dust standard set by the Mine Safety and Health Administration is probably both too high and not being enforced. “We should not be seeing this prevalence rate or this type of advanced disease in the 21st century,” he says. Nor should we be relying on such a health-ravaging, planet-raping, public-teat-sucking energy source in the 21st century. But we digress.