There may be more cases of severe black lung disease than expected as a recent report may show the historically high number of registered cases.
Black lung disease or black lung is the common denomination of CWP. CWP or coal workers’ pneumoconiosis is caused by the long-term exposure to coal dust.
It is a common affection in those that work with coal, such as miners. The disease is caused by the progressive build-up of coal levels in the lungs.
In high levels, the body cannot remove all the coal dust. This may lead to fibrosis and inflammation. The worse cases may lead to necrosis. The effects of CWP are similar to those of long-term tobacco smoking.
They are also similar to silicosis, caused by silica dust accumulations. However, the number of black lung disease cases turned out higher than expected.
On Thursday, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health or NIOSH confirmed 60 cases. They come to stand beside the Queensland reported cases.
According to an America’s National Public Radio report, there have been around 962 registered cases. The number was reported for this decade alone.
The 60 cases declared by the NIOSH were registered amongst current and former Kentucky miners. They were diagnosed with the most severe form of the disease. This is the progressive massive fibrosis.
Scott Laney, an NIOSH epidemiologist, released a statement. According to him, this is the highest ever reported number of deadly black lung disease cases.
The 60 cases were reported in between January 2015 and August 2016. Kentucky is not the only state to have faced an increased number of CWP.
Over the last three years, the state of Virginia had 644 such cases. These were all complicated forms of the disease. They were diagnosed in three of the state’s communities.
The 644 Virginia-based cases are almost six times the national count. According to NIOSH, the nation is faced with less such cases in almost half the time.
Brandon Crum also went to confirm the unprecedented number of cases. The current values have no past recorded antecedents. Crum is a radiologist part of the Kentucky United Medical Group clinic.
Crum stated the high number of complicated cases. According to him, they are about three times higher than previously recorded numbers.
The radiologist also reportedly expressed his concern. He stated that the affected miners were in their 30s and 40s. Most had worked less than 20 years in the underground.
Laney, the aforementioned epidemiologist, expressed his opinions. Similar to other researchers, he considers the coal seams as being the lead cause.
The local thinner coal seams are considered by most to be the cause of the increase. Such remaining thin seams have rock embedded coal. These same rocks also contain quartz. This produces mining dust that is also combined with silica.
Silica, as mentioned, is especially toxic to the lung tissue. This may, as such, lead to the more serious forms of black lung disease. It may also cause the most severe form of CWP.
Image Source: Wikimedia