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MSHA News Release No. 95-041
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: (703) 235-1452

November 8, 1995

Free X-rays Available for Surface Coal Miners in November at WVU

The Labor Department's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), in cooperation with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), will conduct free, confidential lung screening tests this month for active and retired surface coal miners in northern West Virginia, western Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Ohio. The tests, which primarily include a chest X-ray and a work history, will be given throughout November 1995 at the West Virginia University Hospital in Morgantown, W.Va.

The tests will be used to determine the possible presence of silicosis among surface miners. Crystalline silica can be generated during the drilling and crushing of rock and loading of mined material. Excessive exposure to silica dust can lead to silicosis, an incurable and often disabling lung disease.

"We strongly encourage miners to take part in this testing," said J. Davitt McAteer, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "Test results will help us to determine the scope of this problem and direct us in our approach to finding ways to eliminate silicosis and protect future generations of miners."

The free X-rays will be conducted at the West Virginia University Hospital during the month of November only, Tuesday through Thursday, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The X-rays will be sent to NIOSH for reading and evaluation. Participants will be informed of X-ray results which will be kept confidential.

Miners who are interested in obtaining the free X-ray must first contact Linc Selfe at the MSHA district office in Morgantown on 304-291-4277 to schedule an appointment.