The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine has published abstracts from the American Thoracic Society’s International Conference in Denver, which begins tomorrow.
Below are three abstracts that are highly relevant to respiratory diseases experienced by coal miners and the black lung benefits system.
Each study looks very interesting in its own light and reflect the breathing problems that miners disproportionately suffer from.
One thing that is striking in looking at all three side-by-side is the variation in incidence rates of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP). The Almberg, et al. study of Illinois mining-related workers’ compensation claims showed only a 0.3% rate of CWP, the Halldin, et al. study of national surveillance data for former miners showed a 6.9% rate of CWP, and the Yasin, et al. study of Kentucky miners who sought black lung disability benefits showed a rate of 56.6%. This range likely results from differences in the groups that were being studied. For example, it can be expected that many coal workers filing workers’ comp claims may be younger miners who suffer from an immediate accident resulting in, for example, a hurt finger, while former miners seeking black lung disability benefits would be a self-selecting group that would likely suffer from a much higher rate of CWP.
Hopefully these posters are eventually published as full articles so that we can learn more about the studies and what they tell us about black lung.
“Cardiopulmonary Disease Among Illinois Miners, Results Of An Analysis Of State Workers’ Compensation Data” by Kirsten S. Almberg, MS; Lee Friedman, PhD; Judith M. Graber, PhD; Edward L. Petsonk, MD; Cecile Rose , MD; Leonard H.T. Go , MD; and Robert A. Cohen, MD.
“Respiratory Morbidity Among Former U.S. Coal Miners” by Cara N. Halldin, PhD; Anita L. Wolfe, BA; and Anthony S. Laney, PhD.
“Depression, COPD And Coal Worker’s Pneumoconiosis (CWP) Are Common Among Kentucky Coal Miners Evaluated For Respiratory Impairment” by Muhammad Yasin, MD; Bryan Beatty, MS; and Rodney J. Folz, M.D., Ph.D.