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MMWR – Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

1. Helmet Use Among Motorcyclists Who Died in Crashes and Economic Cost Savings Associated With State Motorcycle Helmet Laws — United States, 2008–2010

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Universal helmet laws result in cost savings by increasing helmet use among riders and passengers, which reduces crash-related injuries and deaths. Annual cost savings in states with universal motorcycle helmet laws were nearly four times greater (per registered motorcycle) than in states without these comprehensive laws. Universal helmet laws require that motorcycle riders and passengers wear a helmet every time they ride.  According to a CDC analysis of fatal crash data from 2008 to 2010, 12 percent of motorcyclists in states with universal helmet laws were not wearing helmets.  In comparison, 64 percent of riders were not wearing helmets in states with partial helmet laws, and 79 percent of riders were not wearing helmets in states with no helmet law. Partial helmet laws require only certain riders, such as those under age 21, to wear a helmet.

2. Pneumoconiosis and Advanced Occupational Lung Disease Among Surface Coal Miners — 16 States, 2010–2011

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Clinicians should be aware of the risk for advanced pneumoconiosis among surface coal miners, in addition to underground coal miners, to facilitate prompt disease identification and intervention, a new study suggests. Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP) is a chronic occupational lung disease caused by long-term inhalation of dust which triggers inflammation, eventually producing irreversible lung damage, often with fatal results. Surface coal miners, who comprise 48 percent of the total coal mining workforce, are thought to be less exposed to respirable cost dust than underground coal miners. NIOSH assessed the current prevalence, severity, and geographic distribution of pneumoconiosis among surface coal miners during 2010–2011. Advanced forms of CWP and a high proportion of radiographic shadows suggestive of silicosis were found among surface coal miners with no underground mining experience. Surface coal mine operators should closely monitor worker exposures to assure that both respirable dust and silica are below recommended levels to prevent CWP.

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