Dr. Brandon Crum, a certified B-Reader and Radiologist, notices an alarming increase in the number of complicated black lung cases in recent years.
Between the miners visiting his clinic and the cases coming to him as a federally certified B-reader, or expert in special x-ray readings to classify dust diseases affecting the lungs, Crum was shocked. Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, commonly known as black lung disease, an incurable but entirely preventable illness caused by inhaling coal mine dusts, was showing up in x-rays at his clinic far above rates reported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh).
Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center staff attorney Evan Barret Smith, who edits the blog Devil in the Dust, which is devoted to the disease, says, “He saw more severe black lung coming into his office than any of the official statistics said he should be seeing. By the way, that’s the same reason that the industry people say he must be wrong.”