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Concept: Anthracite


Coal workers' pneumoconiosis, also known as “black lung disease,” is an occupational lung disease caused by overexposure to respirable coal mine dust. Inhaled dust leads to inflammation and fibrosis in the lungs, and coal workers' pneumoconiosis can be a debilitating disease. The Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969 (Coal Act),* amended in 1977, established dust limits for U.S. coal mines and created the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-administered Coal Workers' Health Surveillance Program with the goal of reducing the incidence of coal workers' pneumoconiosis and eliminating its most severe form, progressive massive fibrosis (PMF),(†) which can be lethal. The prevalence of PMF fell sharply after implementation of the Coal Act and reached historic lows in the 1990s, with 31 unique cases identified by the Coal Workers' Health Surveillance Program during 1990-1999. Since then, a resurgence of the disease has occurred, notably in central Appalachia (Figure 1) (1,2). This report describes a cluster of 60 cases of PMF identified in current and former coal miners at a single eastern Kentucky radiology practice during January 2015-August 2016. This cluster was not discovered through the national surveillance program. This ongoing outbreak highlights an urgent need for effective dust control in coal mines to prevent coal workers' pneumoconiosis, and for improved surveillance to promptly identify the early stages of the disease and stop its progression to PMF.

Concepts: Asthma, Anthracite, Kentucky, Pulmonology, Coal mining, Epidemiology, Coal, Occupational safety and health


This paper studies the occupational safety and health management methods as well as risk control technology associated with the coal mining industry, including daily management of occupational safety and health, identification and assessment of risks, early warning and dynamic monitoring of risks, etc.; also, a B/S mode software (Geting Coal Mine, Jining, Shandong, China), i.e., Coal Mine Occupational Safety and Health Management and Risk Control System, is developed to attain the aforementioned objectives, namely promoting the coal mine occupational safety and health management based on early warning and dynamic monitoring of risks. Furthermore, the practical effectiveness and the associated pattern for applying this software package to coal mining is analyzed. The study indicates that the presently developed coal mine occupational safety and health management and risk control technology and the associated software can support the occupational safety and health management efforts in coal mines in a standardized and effective manner. It can also control the accident risks scientifically and effectively; its effective implementation can further improve the coal mine occupational safety and health management mechanism, and further enhance the risk management approaches. Besides, its implementation indicates that the occupational safety and health management and risk control technology has been established based on a benign cycle involving dynamic feedback and scientific development, which can provide a reliable assurance to the safe operation of coal mines.

Concepts: Anthracite, Mining accident, Occupational safety and health, History of coal mining, Management, Risk management, Coal, Coal mining


While several thousand square kilometers of land area have been subject to surface mining in the Central Appalachians, no reliable estimate exists for how much coal is produced per unit landscape disturbance. We provide this estimate using regional satellite-derived mine delineations and historical county-level coal production data for the period 1985-2005, and further relate the aerial extent of mining disturbance to stream impairment and loss of ecosystem carbon sequestration potential. To meet current US coal demands, an area the size of Washington DC would need to be mined every 81 days. A one-year supply of coal would result in ∼2,300 km of stream impairment and a loss of ecosystem carbon sequestration capacity comparable to the global warming potential of >33,000 US homes. For the first time, the environmental impacts of surface coal mining can be directly scaled with coal production rates.

Concepts: Coal mining, Kilometre, Methane, Anthracite, Conversion of units, Global warming, Carbon dioxide, Coal


Activated carbon (AC) amendment is a recently developed sediment remediation method. The strong hydrophobic organic contaminant sorption efficiency of AC has been shown in several studies, but effects on benthic organisms require more investigation. The AC induced effects on egestion rate, growth and reproduction of Lumbriculus variegatus were studied by applying bituminous coal based AC in three different particle size fractions, namely <63 μm (90%, AC(p)), 63-200 μm (AC(m)) and 1000 μm (AC(g)), to natural uncontaminated (HS) and artificial sediment (AS). Egestion rate, growth and reproduction decreased with increasing AC concentration and finer AC particle fractions, effects being stronger on HS than on AS sediment. Lipid content in AS was reduced already at the lowest AC doses applied (AC(p) and AC(m) 0.05%, AC(g) 0.25%). In addition, hormesis-like response was observed in growth (AS) and reproduction (AS, HS) indicating that AC may disturb organisms even at very low doses. Potential ecological effects need to be further evaluated in an amendment- and site-specific manner.

Concepts: Sedimentary rock, Bituminous coal, Life, Activated carbon, Lumbriculus variegatus, Anthracite, Carbon, Coal


Coal mining remains a sizable industry, with millions of working and retired coal miners worldwide. This article provides an update on recent advances in the understanding of respiratory health issues in coal miners and focuses on the spectrum of disease caused by inhalation of coal mine dust, termed coal mine dust lung disease (CMDLD). In addition to the historical interstitial lung diseases (coal worker’s pneumoconiosis, silicosis, and mixed dust pneumoconiosis), coal miners are at risk for dust-related diffuse fibrosis (DDF) and chronic airway diseases including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Recent recognition of rapidly progressive pneumoconiosis in younger miners, mainly in the eastern United States, has increased the sense of urgency and the need for vigilance in medical research, clinical diagnosis, and exposure prevention. Given the risk for disease progression even after exposure removal, along with few medical treatment options, there is an important role for chest physicians in the recognition and management of lung disease associated with work in coal mining.

Concepts: World Coal Institute, Anthracite, Respiratory diseases, Diseases and disorders, Coal mining, Pulmonology, Coal, Medicine


Direct household use of unprocessed raw coals for cooking and heating without any air pollution control device has caused serious indoor and outdoor environment problems by emitting particulate matter (PM) and gaseous pollutants. This study examined household emission reduction by switching from unprocessed bituminous and anthracite coals to processed semi-coke briquettes. Two typical stoves were used to test emission characteristics when burning 20 raw coal samples commonly used in residential heating activities and 15 semi-coke briquette samples which were made from bituminous coals by industrial carbonization treatment. The carbonization treatment removes volatile compounds from raw coals which are the major precursors for PM formation and carbon emission. The average emission factors of primary PM2.5, elemental carbon, organic carbon, and carbon monoxide for the tested semi-coke briquettes are much lower than those of the tested raw coals. Based on the current coal consumption data in China, switching to semi-coke briquettes can reduce average emission factors of these species by about 92%, 98%, 91%, and 34%, respectively. Additionally, semi-coke briquette has relatively lower price and higher burnout ratio. The replacement of raw coals with semi-coke briquettes is a feasible path to reduce pollution emissions from household activities.

Concepts: United States Environmental Protection Agency, Particulate, Volcano, Anthracite, Smog, Carbon dioxide, Air pollution, Coal


Occupational injuries cause major health problems in all nations. Coal mining is one of the largest, oldest industries in the world. However, there is relatively little available literature concerning the health status of coal miners. The purpose of this work is to assess the prevalence of periodontal disease among coal miners and provide a basis for planning and evaluating the data from community oral health services.

Concepts: World Coal Institute, Anthracite, History of coal mining, Periodontitis, Medicine, Coal, Coal mining, Epidemiology


Four cyclopentenone-containing ansamycin polyketides (mccrearamycins A-D), and six new geldanamycins (Gdms B-G, including new linear and mycothiol conjugates), were characterized as metabolites of Streptomyces sp. AD-23-14 isolated from the Rock Creek underground coal mine acid drainage site. Biomimetic chemical conversion studies using both simple synthetic models and Gdm D confirmed that the mccrearamycin cyclopentenone derives from benzilic acid rearrangement of 19-hydroxy Gdm, and thereby provides a new synthetic derivatization strategy and implicates a potential unique biocatalyst in mccrearamycin cyclopentenone formation. In addition to standard Hsp90α binding and cell line cytotoxicity assays, this study also highlights the first assessment of Hsp90α modulators in a new axolotl embryo tail regeneration (ETR) assay as a potential new whole animal assay for Hsp90 modulator discovery.

Concepts: Anthracite, Viral plaque, Enzyme assay, Kentucky, Bacteria, Coal mining, Cell, Coal


To describe the prevalence of lung function abnormality and coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWP) by mine size among underground coal miners in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.

Concepts: Southern United States, Ohio River, West Virginia, Virginia, Pulmonology, Anthracite, Kentucky, Coal


People who live in Appalachian areas where coal mining is prominent have increased health problems compared with people in non-mining areas of Appalachia. Coal mines and related mining activities result in the production of atmospheric particulate matter (PM) that is associated with human health effects. There is a gap in research regarding particle size concentration and distribution to determine respiratory dose around coal mining and non-mining areas. Mass- and number-based size distributions were determined with an Aerodynamic Particle Size and Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer to calculate lung deposition around mining and non-mining areas of West Virginia. Particle number concentrations and deposited lung dose were significantly greater around mining areas compared with non-mining areas, demonstrating elevated risks to humans. The greater dose was correlated with elevated disease rates in the West Virginia mining areas. Number concentrations in the mining areas were comparable to a previously documented urban area where number concentration was associated with respiratory and cardiovascular disease.Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology advance online publication, 19 February 2014; doi:10.1038/jes.2014.2.

Concepts: Coal, Utah, Coal mining, Kentucky, Appalachia, Appalachian Mountains, Anthracite, Epidemiology