Black lung and how to control it

Last month became the eighth Queensland miner diagnosed with black lung since last May. So what is black lung? Why did it suddenly recur and how can it be controlled?

What is black lung?

Black lung, also known as pneumoconiosis, is a chronic, irreversible lung disease caused by inhalation and accumulation of charcoal dust in the lungs.

Black lung coal workers typically present with symptoms of shortness of breath and a chronic cough, but with further exposure and time, the disease can progress to a more serious form known as progressive massive fibrosis. there is.

progressive massive fibrosis

Progressive macrofibrosis occurs when coal dust accumulations converge into large lesions that appear as large (1 cm or larger) opacities on x-rays. Collectively, these lesions commonly destroy lung tissue significantly, exacerbating serious symptoms such as:

  • difficulty breathing
  • chronic cough
  • coughing up black mucus
  • high blood pressure
  • heart problem
  • Increased susceptibility to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma (excessive hardening of the skin)

black lung control

Black lung cannot be cured, so the only way to control it is to prevent exposure to coal dust. Engineering controls such as dust suppression combined with ventilation systems should be strictly applied in all mining operations to limit exposure to respirable coal dust.

Health screening programs are also important and are primarily aimed at early detection so that interventions can be made to prevent disease progression by limiting further exposure.

A regulatory system was set up in the 1970s, such as offering regular x-rays to detect black lung, but the fact that seven cases were confirmed warrants a review of pneumoconiosis screening.we Elliott Australiahelp make Black Lung’s history and join the battle.

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