Black lung is a disease caused by breathing coal mine dust. It is incurable and often gets worse over time. Treatment is limited to relieving symptoms and preventing complications. Nearly 76,000 miners have died from the disease since 1969 – the year coal mine dust regulations were put in place. Miners still get the disease, and the most severe form, progressive massive fibrosis, is on the rise in Appalachia.
As a respiratory disease, black lung puts these current and former miners at a higher risk for COVID-19.
A coalition of organizations in the coalfields – Appalachian Citzens’ Law Center, UK-CARES, Appalshop & WMMT, SOAR, and United Medical Group – recently released two videos to provide critical information to miners with black lung disease during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both feature recommendations from Pikeville radiologist, Dr. Brandon Crum, encouraging miners to do everything possible to stay home and limit exposure.
The new videos are the latest in years of organizing work by the Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center and their partners as they advocate for miners with black lung.
Learn more of this history here: https://mtassociation.org/appalachias-new-day/black-lung/
About this campaign: This is story #56 in the Appalachia’s New Day series, a storytelling effort MACED launched in June 2019 to work with community members to identify, shape and amplify stories about businesses, programs and initiatives helping build a new economy. During COVID-19, we’d like to use this space to shift focus more onto stories of hope, resilience and comfort as we all try our best to slow the spread. Read more stories here or contact us here with ideas.