A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Rural Blog: One in five Appalachian miners who have worked at least 25 years diagnosed with black lung

One in five coal miners in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia who have worked at least 25 years has black-lung disease, according to a new study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. That’s the highest reported rate in a quarter-century. “We can think of no other industry or workplace in the United States in which this would be considered acceptable,” NIOSH...

Congress boosts black lung treatment funding in 15 coal-producing states by $10 million

“Rural medical clinics that are struggling to respond to an epidemic of a fatal lung disease plaguing coal miners received a 40 percent boost in federal funding with the passage of the omnibus spending bill last week,” reports NPR’s Howard Berkes, who can claim some credit for the increase. Twenty-eight black lung clinics in 15 coal states will get a $10 million bump in funding, up...

Rural Blog: CDC report shows black-lung disease on the rise for miners in Eastern Kentucky

Black-lung disease is surging among Appalachian coal miners, according to a report by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and an investigation by Howard Berkes of NPR. In June, Eastern Kentucky radiologist Brandon Crum contacted the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to report a surge in black-lung disease in the coal-mining area. The radiologist, who was not named,...