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Mourning service for victims of black lung

FOR PROTECTION: A picture taken in 1909 shows six miners from Bellbird Colliery wearing air filters VICTIMS of so-called ‘‘black lung disease’’, caused by extended exposure to coal dust, will be remembered on the International Day of Mourning on Monday.
苏州美甲培训

The Newcastle Trades Hall Council will hold a remembrance event at the memorial plaque on the Foreshore at 12.30pm, and those unable to attend can pay their respects by observing a minute’s silence at 11am.

Black lung – known as coal workers’ pneumonconiosis – is an incurable occupational disease which continues to affect thousands of coal workers around the globe each year.

Workers who have contracted it may not show any symptoms for a number of years, and those affected may experience chest tightness, breathing problems, emphysema, a chronic cough and other respiratory problems. When the Joint Coal Board was formed in NSW in 1947, the disease affected 16 per cent of all coalminers in the state, with 4.5per cent of them showing obvious symptoms.

Today Coal Services – which replaced the coal board – says there have been no new cases of the disease recorded in NSW for a decade thanks to industry efforts to enforce minimum dust standards and improve mine safety.

However, China continues to report about 6000 black lung deaths each year and the US about 1000 deaths a year.

Paul Healey, chairman of Coal Services’ standing dust committee, said black lung was not an unfortunate consequence of years spent working in the coal industry but rather a totally preventable disease.

‘‘The resurgence in the US is a sobering reminder that complacency on health, safety and regulatory measures is not an option,’’ he said.

Apart from the Foreshore event, a service will be held at the Ourimbah Wall of Remembrance in Chittaway Road, at 11.45am on Monday.

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