Respiratory morbidity among U.S. coal miners in states outside of central Appalachia

Recent NIOSH publications have focused on the respiratory health of coal miners in central Appalachia, yet 57% of U.S. coal miners work in other regions. The authors characterised respiratory morbidity in coal miners from these regions. Active coal miners working outside of central Appalachia who received chest radiographs and/or spirometry during 2005-2015 were included. Chest radiographs were classified according to International Labour Office standards and spirometry was interpreted using the American Thoracic Society guidelines. Prevalence of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP) and abnormal spirometry were compared by region. A total of 103 (2.1%) miners had CWP. The eastern region had the highest prevalence (3.4%), followed by the western (1.7%), and interior (0.8%) regions. A total of 524 (9.3%) miners had abnormal spirometry. The authors concluded that CWP occurs in all U.S. coal mining regions. Prevalence of CWP was higher in the eastern region, but lower than levels reported in central Appalachia.

Authors: Reynolds LE, Blackley DJ, Laney AS, Halldin CN. ;Full Source: American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 2017 Jun;60(6):513-517. doi: 10.1002/ajim.22727. Epub 2017 May 12. ;