Coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWP) is a chronic lung disease caused by inhalation of coal mine dust. To characterize the prevalence of CWP, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) analyzed recent radiographic information from the U.S. National Coal Workers' X-ray Surveillance Program (CWXSP). Established under the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969, CWXSP is administered by NIOSH under federal regulations. NIOSH is responsible for approving coal miner examination plans, submitted approximately every 5 years by companies that operate underground coal mines. This report summarizes the results of the analysis, which indicate that the overall prevalence of CWP among participating miners continues to decline; however, new cases are occurring among miners who have worked exclusively under current dust exposure limits. An evaluation of the mining conditions that have resulted in these cases is underway. Federal regulations specify that companies offer underground coal miners a chest radiograph at first employment and every 5 years thereafter while employed. Periodic radiographs that use a specified radiographic technique are offered during a 6-month examination period at NIOSH-approved health facilities. During October 1, 1999-September 30, 2002, NIOSH collaborated with the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to accept films from MSHA's new Miners' Choice Program (MCP) for classification by using CWXSP procedures. Operating independently of coal mine operators, MCP ran concurrently with CWXSP and encouraged miners to undergo radiographic examination. MCP participants were miners from 586 surface coal mines, which are not required or encouraged to participate in CWXSP, and from 444 underground coal mines.
Chest-X-rays; Chronic-exposure; Coal-dust; Coal-miners; Coal-mining; Coal-workers-pneumoconiosis; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Lung-disorders; Exposure-limits; Mining-industry; Underground-miners; Underground-mining; Medical-monitoring; Medical-screening; Surveillance-programs; Radiographic-analysis; Respiratory-system-disorders