NPR

Calls For Change Follow NPR/Frontline Black Lung Investigation

Federal regulations for silica dust in coal mines haven't changed in decades. But since an NPR/Frontline report into black lung, some are calling for a new response.
Coal miner Nick Stiltner reviews an X-ray of his lungs showing black lung disease at the Stone Mountain Clinic in Grundy, Va. Source: Courtesy of Elaine McMillion Sheldon/PBS Frontline

Thousands of coal miners are dying from an advanced form of black lung disease, and federal regulators could have prevented it if they'd paid closer attention to their own data.

That's the conclusion of a joint NPR/Frontline investigation that aired last month and continues tonight on PBS.

The regulatory system that is supposed to protect coal miners from exposure to toxic silica dust failed to prevent dangerous exposures more than 21,000 times since 1986, according to data collected by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and.

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