254384 Prevalence of coal workers' pneumoconiosis among surface coal miners: Limitations and potential underreporting

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 1:26 PM - 1:38 PM

Cara N. Halldin, PhD , National Institute for Occupationals Safety and Health Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morgantown, WV
Anita Wolfe, BS , Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Morgantown, WV
A. Scott Laney, PhD , Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Morgantown, WV
Inhalation of coal mine dust causes coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWP), a chronic, occupational lung disease and progressive massive fibrosis (PMF), a severe form of CWP. No studies of CWP prevalence among surface miners have been conducted since 2002, though they comprise 48% of the coal mining workforce. We assessed the prevalence, severity and geographic distribution of CWP in surface coal miners. Surface coal miners' (n=2,257; 7% of U.S. surface coal miners) chest radiographs taken by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Coal Workers' Health Surveillance Program and were classified according to International Labour Organization pneumoconiosis standards. We identified 46 (2.0%) miners with CWP and 12 (0.5%) with PMF. The prevalence of CWP and PMF was greater (CWP: 3.7% vs. 1.1%; PR=2.7; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.4-5.3 and PMF: 1.2% vs. 0.1%; PR=12.4, 95% CI: 1.5-100.1) in central Appalachian (Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia) miners when using log-binomal regression adjusting for underground and surface mining tenure. Surface miners are not included in the federally mandated periodic radiographic surveillance program established for underground coal miners, therefore participation in the NIOSH survey was voluntary, dependent on the cooperation of surface mine operators, and could have been influenced by a number of social factors (eg. known disease status, employer attitudes, safety culture, perceived risks). Consequently, these results may not reflect the true prevalence of CWP among surface miners. NIOSH recommends changes to the manner in which respirable dust is measured and suggests surface coal miners be included in periodic radiographic surveillance.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Compare prevalence of coal workers' pneumoconiosis and progressive massive fibrosis between central Appalachia and other U.S. mining regions; identify data limitations and potential underreporting

Keywords: Occupational Disease, Surveillance

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assigned to the Division of Respiratory Disease Studies (DRDS) at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Here I work with DRDS Surveillance Branch to assess prevalence of lung disease in United States coal miners who have been screened through NIOSH's Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program. I have participated in the field work as well as conducted the analysis which is presented in this abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.