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UMWA Statement on NIOSH Study Finding, Coal Miners Increased Risk of Dying from Lung Diseases


March 2, 2023 - United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:

“The study released by NIOSH and researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago only proves what I have been saying for years. Today’s miners are contracting lung diseases at an alarming rate.

The study found that ‘progressive massive fibrosis, which is only caused by dust inhalation, was also more frequent in younger age groups. Thus, it appears likely that coal mine dust inhalation also contributed to their increased burden of nonmalignant respiratory disease’

“The silica standard presented by MSHA earlier this year will protect miners from silicosis or progressive massive fibrosis (PMF) but time is of the essence here. Every day that goes by without action is another day our nation’s coal miners are exposed to deadly silica dust.

“I testified before Congress about the effects of silica exposure in 2019. It is now four years later, and this study proves how catastrophic this delay has been for working coal miners.

“It is a shame the number of young miners that had to contract deadly diagnoses in order to make a change to our health and safety laws. Let’s get this standard passed and save the lives of those that provide the energy it takes to live ours.”

Click here to view the study.