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Black Lung Disease

  • Black Lung Disease

    Black lung disease also known as Coal workers' pneumoconiosis, is a legal term describing a preventable, occupational lung disease that is contracted by prolonged breathing of coal mine dust. There are two forms: simple CWP and complicated CWP, which also involves progressive massive fibrosis (PMF). Coal dust provides a sufficient stimulus for the macrophage to release various products, including enzymes, cytokines, oxygen radicals, and fibroblast growth factors, which are important in the inflammation and fibrosis of CWP. The centres of dense lesions may become necrotic due to ischemia, leading to large cavities within the lung. There is no proven effective treatment for Black lung disease, although complications can be treated. Avoiding further exposure to the dust is the only one of treatment. Black lung disease can be prevented by controlling dust and having good ventilation in the workplace. According to reports, China’s diagnoses of black lung, or pneumoconiosis, rose sevenfold from 2005 to 2013, to a total of about 750,000 and an annual average increase of 35 percent. However this number is probably an enormous understatement. Wang Keqin, founder of the organization Love Save Pneumoconiosis, told the WSJ that the true number of black lung cases could be close to six million as up to 90 percent of China’s coal miners don’t have labor contracts that would qualify them for official health survey. Work to investigate the relationship between respirable dust exposure and coal worker's pneumoconiosis was carried out in Britain by the Institute of Occupational Medicine. This research was known as the Pneumoconiosis Field Research (PFR).

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