Still wearing their head-lamps outside the confines of the coal mine, this historic image, provided by the Center for Disease Control's (CDC), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), depicted a photographer using a hand-held 35mm SLR camera who was photographing a coal miner whose face was covered in coal soot. From the appearance of the coal dust on the miner's face, it looks as if he had not been wearing any protective breathing mask. Due to the inescapable presence of airborne coal dust in the small confines of a mine, miners are predisposed to the long-term negative health effects of this profession such as 'black lung disease', or 'coal-workers' pneumoconiosis' (CWP). Today, the Federal government's stringent regulations on the level of coal dust permissible in the air of a coal mine, and the requisite use of filtered breathing devices, has dramatically lowered the number of cases of black lung disease.
CDC/ Barbara Jenkins, NIOSH
November 26, 2012
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