The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that over the last fifteen years there has been an increase in the number of coal miners taking part in the agency’s surveillance program who have developed progressive massive fibrosis (PMF).
PMF is an advanced, debilitating, and lethal lung condition that has limited treatment options and no cure. Fifteen years ago, PMF had virtually disappeared among the program’s participants, but it is now on the rise because of excessive coal mine dust inhalation.
The new data comes from NIOSH’s Coal Workers Health Surveillance Program (CWHSP), which conducts radiograph testing and informs coal miners of their pneumoconiosis status. According to the CWHSP, there were 154 cases of PMF among the program’s participants, most of whom came from central Appalachia, between 1998 and 2012.
For more information, read the letter published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
Learn more about the CWHSP.