CDC: Coal Miners Dying at Younger Ages

ATLANTA, Dec. 23 (UPI) — The occupational overexposure to coal mine dust by coal miners continues to occur despite legally enforceable limits, U.S. health officials say.

Deaths occurring among younger persons from coal workers’ pneumoconiosis declined substantially from 1968-2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released Wednesday says. Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis is the accumulation of coal dust in the lungs and the tissue’s reaction to its presence.

However, annual years of potential life before age 65 of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis have been increasing since 2002, and mean years of potential life before age 65 per decedent has been increasing since the early 1990s — meaning that workers die at younger age — the study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health finds.

The NIOSH study recommends hazard surveillance, workplace-specific interventions and strengthening of current coal workers’ pneumoconiosis prevention and elimination efforts to protect workers’ health.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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