Black Lung making a comeback in WV

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By Scott Finn 

Black lung disease is supposed to be a disease of our coal-mining past. But there’s been a surprising increase in the number of coal miners in West Virginia who are coming down with the disease. 

In fact, the rate of black lung among miners has doubled here since 1995, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. The problem is centered in southern West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, and southwestern Virginia. The area’s unique geology may be to blame. 

But it’s also a failure of our mine safety laws, which were supposed to eliminate dust in the mines. Earlier this week, researcher Lee Petsonk of Morgantown testified before the state Legislature about the problem. 

Reporter Scott Finn interviewed him about the increase in black lung, what’s causing it, and what can be done to stop it.

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