YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – More than 70,000 miners have died due to black lung disease and more are getting sick each year.
That is according to Sen. Sherrod Brown, who has introduced a new law to target the problem.
Brown’s proposal would speed up the process for sick miners to file claims.
Since 1968, coal companies have been required by law to pay workers who develop black lung disease.
But, Brown said many are denied or have to wait too long to be approved. For some miners and their families, it takes 20 years or more to be approved for benefits, he said.
“Too many miners have been denied these benefits,” Brown said. “Black lung disease cases are occurring at record-high levels. We need to ensure that our miners are receiving the benefits they deserve.”
Black lung disease is the common name for neumoconiosis, or any lung disease that develops from inhaling coal dust. Those with the disease have lungs that look black, instead of pink, and can suffer from coughing, shortness of breath and a decreased quality of life.