Coal miners have long been recognized to be at increased risk for several forms of pneumoconiosis, including macules, nodules, progressive massive fibrosis (PMF) and silicosis, as well as for other chronic lung diseases (Kleinerman et al., 1979). Although focal emphysema is recognized as an integral part of the lesion of simple CWP (Kleinerman et al., 1979), the relationship between coal mining and disabling emphysema is an issue that still sparks considerable scientific debate and controversy (Hurley and Soutar, 1986; Gee and Morgan, 1979; Seaton, 1990). In this study we examine the relationship between severity of emphysema and years of employment in underground coal mining, years smoked, retained dust in the lung, and CWP. Our findings show a positive association between coal mining, and emphysema and are similar to previously reported autopsy studies from Europe and Australia (Ruckley et al., 1984; Leigh et al., 1994; Lyons et al., 1981; Cockcroft et al., 1982).
Division of Health Effects Laboratory, NIOSH, Morgantown, WV, USA