In a study published in March, University of Illinois at Chicago researchers found more than 4,000 cases of severe black lung, also known as progressive massive fibrosis, over the last 50 years. More than half of the cases were found in the last 16 years, with the frequency of the fatal disease increasing from year to year. As much as 30 percent of cases occurred in the coal-mining states of Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.
A study published in May found an increase in the rate of black-lung-related lung transplants, 79 percent of which occurred in the last decade. — By Hannah Gillespie