Michael and Liz Williams pose for a photo outside their home in
McRoberts, Ky. He mined coal for 40 years and has advanced-
stage black lung disease. (Photo by Taylor Sisk, Kaiser Health News)
“It’s cruel that this would happen in such a rich country,” Wes Addington of the Appalachian Citizens Law Center said of the persistence of black lung. He told Sisk, “We know how to prevent it, and never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that we’d be in a situation where we’re having that same conversation” about progressive massive fibrosis, the lung ailment caused by silica dust.
“We were seeing much more severe disease,” said Dr. Robert Cohen, director of the Mining Education and Research Center at the University of Illinois-Chicago and the study’s lead author. “We were seeing disease in younger miners, with lesser exposures, so, therefore, more intense exposure.”