NIOSH wraps up black lung screenings in Pike County

WYMT Weekend Edition News at 11 p.m.
Published: Aug. 27, 2023 at 5:53 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 28, 2023 at 12:34 AM EDT
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PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Officials with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health screened more than 200 coal miners for black lung in Letcher and Pike counties.

NIOSH Field And Outreach Coordinator Christopher Parker said they wanted to come to the region because of the higher rates due to accessibility and proximity.

“So, coming out to the community areas where the coal miners may be, we can reduce some of the barriers to screening, to be able to be by where they’re living and work. So, we try to be with our mobile unit and try to go where we need to go,” he said.

He said these services are important so that folks can know what they are living with and how to treat it.

“Health is very important, whether it’s getting x-ray screenings for coal mining or just in general. It’s always a good opportunity for you to understand your health and what may be impacting you so, that way you can have a good quality of life,” he explained. “So, that way they have a good quality of life later on, rather than some of the more serious, late stages of black lung disease, the more complicated variety.”

Parker said they are already planning to return to the region next year to help more coal miners that did not or were not able to come.

Parker said they will be contacting those that were screened in eight to twelve weeks for follow-up of results, offering resources for treatments.