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Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis Surveillance In The United States.

Fifth International Pneumoconiosis Conference, 29 November, 1978, Caracas, Venezuela, International Labour Organization 1985:15-36
The results obtained from the long term investigation of pneumoconiosis among United States coal workers (SIC-1211) are reviewed. NIOSH administers a health surveillance program that provides for the medical examination of underground coal miners. These medical examinations currently consist of a brief occupational history questionnaire and a posteroanterior chest radiograph. Close to 60 percent of all underground coal workers are thought to have participated in the examinations carried out from 1970 through 1973 and from 1973 to 1978. The results obtained from these examinations revealed an apparent trend toward a lower prevalence of coal worker pneumoconiosis (CWP) in the western states as compared to the midwest and Appalachia, with an apparent reduction from 10 to 6 percent being noted in CWP prevalence between these two examination periods. The incidence of pneumoconiosis observed among individuals with a total underground exposure of less than 1 year is thought to result largely from previous exposure to other pneumoconiosis producing dusts. A strong association has been established between the number of years spent underground and the prevalence of CWP. A 1977 study of mortality among 22,998 deceased coal miners demonstrated a significant increase in the number of deaths due to respiratory causes such as influenza, emphysema, asthma, and tuberculosis. The control of respirable coal mine dusts has improved markedly since the passage of the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969; however, mortality figures continued to reveal excess mortality with respect to nonmalignant respiratory diseases, accidents, lung cancer, and stomach cancer. The author concludes that coal mining remains the most hazardous major industry in the United States with respect to job related fatalities. The apparent decline recently observed in the prevalence of CWP is attributable to the presence of miners with fewer years of underground exposure in the present coal mining work force.
Health-hazards; Mortality-rates; Occupational-exposure; Industrial-exposures; Respiratory-irritants; Epidemiology; Coal-industry; Pulmonary-system; Diagnostic-techniques; Human-studies; Workplace-studies;
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings;
Fiscal Year
Priority Area
Infectious Diseases; Disease and Injury; Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease; Pulmonary-system;
SIC Code
Source Name
Fifth International Pneumoconiosis Conference, 29 November, 1978, Caracas, Venezuela, International Labour Organization
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division