Coal worker's pneumoconiosis is a lung disease that results from breathing in dust from coal, graphite, or man-made carbon over a long time.
Black lung disease; Pneumoconiosis; Anthrosilicosis
Coal worker's pneumoconiosis occurs in two forms: simple and complicated (also called progressive massive fibrosis, or PMF).
Your risk of developing coal worker's pneumoconiosis depends on how long you have been around coal dust. Most people with this disease are older than 50. Smoking does not increase your risk of developing this disease, but it may have an added harmful effect on the lungs.
The doctor will do a physical exam and listen to your lungs with a stethoscope. A chest x-ray or chest CT scan will be performed. You will also likely need lung function tests.
Treatment may include any of the following, depending on how severe your symptoms are:
Medicines to keep the airways open and reduce mucus
Pulmonary rehabilitation to help you learn ways to breathe better
You should also avoid further exposure to coal dust.
Ask your health care provider about Black Lung Clinics in your area. Information can be found at the National Coalition of Black Lung and Respiratory Disease Clinics website: blacklungcoalition.org/clinics.
Outcome for the simple form is usually good. It rarely causes disability or death. The complicated form may cause shortness of breath that worsens over time.
Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, MHS, Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.