Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Black lung rates double under Bush

Black lung disease - a form of pneumoconiosis - is a dreaded affliction that affects coal miners. Over years, coal dust fills the miner's lungs, robs them of breathing function, and leads to a slow death.

After the 1969 Mine Safety and Health Act, great strides were made in battling black lung. But now the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports that this trend has suddenly been reversed, as the rate of black lung has doubled in the past 5 years. Miners who have 25 years of experience now have about a 9% chance of having black lung - a rate that is more than twice what it was.

The head of the United Mine Workers said there's likely a couple of factors in this new trend: For one, the law may not be stringent enough. For another, the Mine Safety and Health Administration isn't even bothering to enforce the standards. Under Bush, the MSHA is generally very lax in enforcing mine safety standards - contributing to recent mining disasters like the one in Sago, West Virginia, that killed 12. Rep. George Miller, a California Democrat, said the Bush regime has "stacked" the MSHA with "industry insiders" and that the MSHA has refused to fine mine owners who violate the law.

Of course Bush doesn't give a shit about miners or any other working people getting sick from their job.

(Source: http://blog.aflcio.org/2007/09/14/black-lung-rates-doubled-in-past-five-years;

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