Silica Dust & Coal Dust ~ Both Cause Debilitating Lung Disease

by Duane Nichols on November 29, 2023

Coal miners & Frack pad workers may be exposed to silica dust …

We must act to curb black lung disease

Letter to Editor by Robert Little via PennLive, November 26, 2023

As a retired family doctor, I’ve seen the suffering faced by patients fighting lung disease. Coal Worker’s pneumoconiosis, or “black lung” has become an epidemic … Younger coal miners are getting sicker than ever, and black lung is costing lives right now.

As we make the necessary transition from coal to cleaner power to tackle the climate crisis, it is our obligation to ensure coal workers aren’t left behind. That means we must act to curb the black lung crisis. Thankfully, we know the cause of this rise of black lung: miners are now cutting through more rock to get at coal, leading to more exposure to silica dust than ever before. Silica dust causes a more severe form of black lung than coal dust. That’s why coal miners have urged the Mining Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to enact legal limits on silica exposure for years.

MSHA finally listened this year and announced a modest silica safeguard – a step in the right direction that will save more coal miner lives. But apparently even this small step was too much for our Congressman, Scott Perry. Last week, he introduced legislation that would prevent this safeguard from being implemented. And, when asked about what this meant for coal miners, he asked a reporter, “What coal miners?”

This is disgraceful evidence that Perry would rather bailout a few coal executives than protect working Americans, and it must not stand. I urge our Senators to stop this provision before it can cost lives. Pennsylvania’s 4,400 coal miners and everyone here who cares about health before CEO profits deserve better than what Scott Perry is giving us.

>>> Dr Robert Little, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Penna.


SEE ALSO ~ As coal miners suffer and die from severe black lung, a proposed fix may fall short, By Howard Berkes, Justin Hicks & Allen Siegler, National Public Radio, November 19, 2023

BLACK LUNG DISEASE ~ It’s caused by the inhalation of coal mine dust, especially exposure to highly dangerous silica dust. Silica is one of Earth’s most abundant minerals, and it’s about 20 times more toxic than coal dust. It’s typical in the quartz that surrounds coal seams, especially in central Appalachia.

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Duane Nichols December 1, 2023 at 4:56 pm

Ohio Becomes First U.S. State to Report Outbreak of ‘White Lung Syndrome’

From a Brightgram Article on November 30, 2023


• Ohio has become the first state in the U.S. to report an outbreak of a strain of pneumonia known as ‘white lung syndrome,’ with a particularly high number of children being hospitalized.

• The Warren County Health Department has reported 142 pediatric cases since August, which meets the Ohio Department of Health’s definition of an outbreak.

• The illness is not believed to be a new disease, but rather a combination of common infections, including mycoplasma pneumonia, strep, and adenovirus.

• There are theories that children are more susceptible due to weakened immune systems from lockdowns, mask-wearing, and school closures.

• The Netherlands and Denmark have also reported mysterious spikes in ‘walking pneumonia’ cases, most common in younger children.


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