Associated Press Published

Proposed Rule for Black Lung Victims Available for Comment

Black lung is a deadly disease caused by exposure to dust underground.

The public is getting the chance to weigh in on a proposed rule that gives coal miners greater access to their health records.

The U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs has made the proposed Black Lung Benefits Act rule available for public comment starting Wednesday.

The rule also would require that mine owners pay all benefits due in a claim before the award can be challenged through modification.

Black lung is an irreversible and potentially deadly disease caused by exposure to coal dust, where the dust particles accumulate in the lungs. According to the Labor Department, more than 76,000 miners have died at least in part because of the disease since 1968.