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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 the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare, wood heat is responsible for 40 percent of fine-particle emissions in Finland -- in addition to 55 oercent of black carbon emissions and 80 percent of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon emissions. It estimates that these cause more than 250 deaths annually from heart and lung diseases. 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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