A Deadly Disease That Strikes Coal Miners Has Returned in Australia

“In the U.S., black lung disease has killed more than 78,000 miners since 1968, with $45 billion paid in benefits to the injured workers and their survivors, according to the Department of Labor. In China, it kills about 6,000 people annually,” writes Perry Williams.

“When I started in 1970, they said there was no more black lung in the mines,” Stoddart said in an interview from his home in Bundaberg, a town on the southern fringe of Australia’s sprawling Great Barrier Reef.

Even though he routinely returned home from work with his skin covered in a film of fine black coal dust that penetrated his clothes, he never thought of it damaging his lungs, he said. “No one gave it much of a thought, to tell you the truth.”

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