Severe Form of Black Lung Returns to Threaten Appalachian Coal Miners

A severe incarnation of black lung disease, Progressive Massive Fibrosis (PMF), affects nearly ten-times more Appalachian coal miners today than it did in the 1970s. Recent data analysis from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has revealed that the potentially lethal effects of PMF are currently afflicting 3.2% of miners in the Central Appalachian coalfields.

PMF is a form of coal worker’s pneumoconiosis (CWP), which occurs when prolonged excessive inhalation of coal mine dust causes severe scarring of lung tissue. Large masses form inside the lungs, creating painful, crippling, and potentially deadly consequences. The sole cause of PMF is excessive inhalation of coal mine dust over an extended period of time, putting career coal miners at high risk. Even surface coal miners with little or no time working underground may be at risk according to NIOSH.

“Each of these cases is a tragedy and represents a failure among all those responsible for preventing this severe disease.”NIOSH, September 15, 2014.

Recently, researchers from NIOSH wrote a letter to the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine expressing its concern over the resurgence of PMF black lung. Therein, NIOSH stated that “the prevalence of PMF is the result of overexposures and/or increased toxicity stemming from changes in dust composition.” Further, the letter stated that “[r]ecent findings suggest dust exposures have not been adequately controlled and that a substantial portion of U.S. coal miners continue to develop PMF.” Clearly, employers and equipment manufacturers have neglected their responsibility to monitor exposure and toxicity levels.

Regrettably, there is currently no known cure for PMF and very few treatment options. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you and your loved ones can do.

Seek legal guidance and take action immediately!

If you have been diagnosed with Progressive Massive Fibrosis, you should take immediate action and work toward receiving compensation for your injuries. Excessive exposure to airborne silica in coal mine dust because of another party’s negligence may be grounds for legal action.

At Hartley Law Group, PLLC, our personal injury attorneys provide aggressive representation and excellent legal advice for clients who have suffered from the debilitating effects of PMF. With more than 30 years of legal experience and a heavy focus on toxic tort claims, our legal team fights for positive results in personal injury cases. Call today and retain dedicated counsel from our personal injury attorneys located in Wheeling and Charleston, West Virginia.

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