Top Ten Reasons Coal is NOT dirty by WALT #5: “Clean” Coal Kills Miners

This stat is misleading. The workers who died in 1992 of black lung more than likely started working in the mines in the early 60’s if not before. Even the workers who died in 2002 would have started in the early 70’s. – WALT


Coal miners are at increased risk for developing lung diseases, which are collectively referred to as black lung disease. The individual diseases, caused by coal dust, are silicosis, bronchitis and emphysema. Although statistics show that mine safety measures temporarily decreased the number of black lung disease cases in the country, it appears as though mine safety failings have caused a recent increase in the number of these cases.

An independent study determined that 75 percent of the miners killed in the Upper Big Branch mine disaster showed signs of black lung disease. In this astounding report, some of the miners who suffered from the disease were as young as 25. Of those, five had worked in coal mines for less than 10 years.

The report leveled accusations against Massey Energy, the company responsible for the mine. The report named Massey responsible for safety issues at Upper Big Branch, and it suggested the business’ obsession with production jeopardized the health of workers. Specifically, it said the mine’s ventilation systems did not adequately ventilate the air, causing miners to breathe in dangerous coal dust.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration advises that there is no cure for black lung disease. However, there are life-saving measures that can be taken. A large of this involves prevention. To that end, mining companies must be made to comply with health and safety laws.

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