The agency’s Mobile X-Ray Unit will visit locations in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, North Dakota, Montana and Colorado, and will offer free, confidential screenings between late July and late September.
“The screenings are intended to provide early detection of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, also known as black lung, a serious but preventable occupational lung disease in coal miners caused by breathing respirable coal mine dust,” NIOSH officials from the Workforce Screening and Surveillance Team said.
Agency director John Howard added: “It is critical to detect coal workers’ pneumoconiosis as early as possible, to guide intervention and keep the disease from advancing to stages in which it becomes progressively debilitating and life-threatening [and] the screening offered by NIOSH is designed to serve that purpose.
“As a source of data through which scientists may identify trends in cases, it is also a vital component of efforts by NIOSH and its partners to protect miners at risk and eliminate coal workers’ pneumoconiosis once and for all.”
While the program is provided regularly for the health surveillance of underground coal miners, NIOSH said staff concern and that of other stakeholders for the risk of black lung to surface operations qualified the decision to focus its next set of testing efforts in the western coalfields.
The screening includes a questionnaire on work history as well as a chest X-ray, but workers will also be able to have a blood-pressure screening during the 15-minute process.
The NIOSH team reiterated that all results would be presented to the individual confidentially with no information disclosed publicly.
“The prevalence of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis among long-term underground miners who participated in chest X-ray screening decreased from the 1970s to the 1990s,” officials pointed out.
“However, the rate of disease in underground miners participating in the NIOSH program has recently increased: the current rate for underground miners participating in the NIOSH program and having a tenure in coal mining of at least 25 years is 9 per cent nationally, double the rate in 1995.
“Knowing the frequency of the disease and who may be at risk is important for determining how to prevent new cases; consequently, information regarding disease in surface coal miners is crucial.”
The testing facility will take walk-ins, but miners are urged to call 1-888-480-4042 toll free ahead of time to schedule a convenient time at their closest site location.
Screening times and locations are as follows (all local time):
Las Vegas, Nevada – UMWA National Convention
Mirage Hotel, Exhibit Hall A
This is open to all coal miners (working, retired, underground and surface)
Sunday, July 25, 2010 – 11am – 5pm
Monday, July 26, 2010 – 7.30am – 5.30pm
Tuesday, July 27, 2010 – 7.30am – 5.30pm
Wednesday, July 28, 2010 – 7.30am – 5.30pm
Kayenta Mine, Navajo Route 41, Off Hwy 160
Black Mesa, Arizona
Monday, August 2, 2010 – 7am – 7pm
Tuesday, August 3, 2010 – 7am – 7pm
Comfort Inn (for miners at Lee Ranch and El Segundo mines), 1551 Santa Fe Avenue
Grants, New Mexico
Thursday, August 5, 2010 – 7am – 7pm
Friday, August 6, 2020 – 7am – 7pm
McKinley mine, 24 miles north of Gallup, New Mexico
Monday, August 9, 2010 – 6am – 6pm
Tuesday, August 10, 2010 – 6am – 6pm
Navajo Mine, CR 6675 – 16 miles SW of Fruitland
Fruitland, New Mexico
Wednesday, August 11, 2010 – 6am – 6pm
Thursday, August 12, 2010 – 6am – 6pm
Colowyo mine, 5731 State Hwy 13
Monday, August 16, 2010 – 6am – 6pm
Tuesday, August 17, 2010 – 6am – 6pm
Trapper mine, Hwy 13 – 6 Â½ miles SW of Craig
Wednesday, August 18, 2010 – 6am – 6pm
Jim Bridger mine, 932 Nine Mile Road
Point of Rocks, Wyoming
Thursday, August 19, 2010 – 4pm – 8pm
Friday, August 20, 2010 – 5am – 1pm
Kemmerer mine, 6520 Elkol Co Rd 304
Monday, August 23, 2010 – 6am – 6pm
Sleep Inn (for miners at the Antelope mine, 508 Cortez Drive
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 – 7am – 7pm
Powder River Transportation/Coach America Bus Barn (for all miners in the Gillette area), 1700 E US Hwy 14-16
Thursday, August 26, 2010 – 3.30pm – 7pm
Friday, August 27, 2010 – 7am – 7pm
Gillette College Technical Center (for all miners in the Gillette area), 3251 S. 4 J Road
Monday, August 30, 2010 – 7am – 7pm
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 – 7am – 7pm
Wright Hotel (for miners from Black Thunder, Jacobs Ranch and North Antelope Rochelle mines), 300 Reata Drive
Wednesday, September 1, 2010 – 7am – 7pm
Thursday, September 2, 2010 – 7am – 7pm
Weston County Senior Services (for miners from Black Thunder, Jacobs Ranch and North Antelope Rochelle mines), Senior Center/old grade school, 627 Pine Street
Friday, September 3, 2010 – 8am – 8pm
Sheridan Holiday Inn (for miners from the Spring Creek and Decker mines), 1809 Sugarland Drive
Tuesday, September 7, 2010 – 7am – 7pm
Absaloka mine, 529 Sarpy Basin Road
Wednesday, 09/08/2010 – 9am – 6pm
Thursday, September 9, 2010 – 5am – 6pm
Rosebud mine, 138 Rosebud Lane
Friday, 09/10/2010 – 6am – 8pm
Bull Mountain Mine #1, 100 Portal Drive
Monday, September 13, 2010 – 6am – 8pm
Tuesday, September 14, 2010 – 6am – 8pm
Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center (for miners at the Falkirk, Beulah, Freedom, and Center mines), 2576 8th Street SW
Washburn, North Dakota
Thursday, September 16, 2010 – 8am – 8pm
Friday, September 17, 2010 – 8am – 8pm