This historical image, which was provided by the Center for Disease Control's (CDC), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), depicted two coal miners in the process of setting up a 'scoop shovel' in a subterranean coal mine shaft. Note that neither of the two men was wearing a filtered breathing mask, goggles, or earplugs, which today, would have been required protective gear. Mining coal, especially under circumstances such as these close quarters, facilitated coal dust inhalation, thereby, predisposing miners 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
December 4, 2012