Free Black Lung Screening Provided for Area Coal Miners

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Respiratory and Occupational Lung Disease Clinic at East Ohio Regional Hospital teamed up with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to bring the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) truck to the United Mine Workers Union Hall in Bellaire, OH on Wednesday, September 2.  The mission is to provide free Black Lung screenings for current and former coal miners and collect data necessary for further funding of treatment.

Coal miners, ranging from their 20's to their 60's, lined up outside of the portable health screening truck for their chest x-rays and spirometry (breathing) tests.  The testing lasted about 30 minutes per miner and began with a questionnaire.  The health surveillance program is a longstanding NIOSH responsibility under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act.  The action to expand the program is in response to new requirements for health surveillance in the Mine and Health Administration's (MHSA's) recently published, final rule on controlling coal mine dust exposure.  

Becky Maruca, project director and outreach coordinator for EOHR's Respiratory and Occupational Lung Disease Clinic says, "We need the statistics. So many miners in our area haven't been tested.  We go to conferences and they'll show maps of the United States where miners are affected by Black Lung and in our area it looks like no one is here.  So, we need this data and screenings to show there are miners in the Ohio Valley who have breathing issues and Black Lung." 

If you are interested in more information about the Occupational Lung Disease Clinic or would like to have us contact your physician on your behalf, please call 740-633-4715 or toll-free 1-877-633-4715.