From The Lexington Herald-Leader: Black lung disease continues to surge in Eastern Kentucky. New research suggests why.

Thanks to Walter Tillow for sending us this.

By WILL WRIGHT

New mining methods that churn up silica-laden rock are likely responsible for the surge of black lung disease that has afflicted hundreds of miners across Central Appalachia in recent years, according to new research presented at the American Thoratic Society’s annual meeting this week.

The research provides further evidence that new mining methods used to extract thin seams of coal have led to the surge of black lung in Eastern Kentucky, southwest Virginia and other parts of Appalachia.

It also further confirms that coal companies and federal regulators have not adequately created or enforced silica dust regulations, said Robert Cohen, the co-director of the Black Lung Center of Excellence, who led the new research project.

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