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DOL/MSHA News Release No. 02-258
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: Rodney Brown
Phone: (703) 235-1452

Released Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Thousands Of Coal Miners Eligible for Free Chest X-rays
Most eligible in Wyo., W.Va., Ill., Va.;

ARLINGTON, Va.- Thousands more active U.S. coal miners are now eligible for free, confidential chest X-rays to detect work-related lung diseases, under a program initiated by the Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). The "Miners' Choice Health Screening," has offered free, confidential chest X-rays to selected coal miners nationwide in an attempt to determine the depth and scope of black lung disease among U.S. coal miners. "We encourage all eligible miners to take part in this program," said Dave D. Lauriski, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "The statistics being gathered will help to gauge progress and plan the next steps in preventing black lung." Under the program approximately 6,700 miners are now eligible for the free chest X-rays. MSHA will inform all miners who are eligible, and miners may get the tests from a mobile X-ray van which will visit near their work site. The X-rays go to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which coordinates readings and will notify each tested miner of individual findings. Nearly 18,000 miners nationwide have taken advantage of the free chest X-rays since the program began in 1999. The following lists the states with 100 or more currently eligible miners:

Wyoming 1774 Illinois 603 Indiana 378
West Virginia 1661 Washington 552 Montana 369
Virginia 619 Pennsylvania 383 Oklahoma 104

The X-rays will be available through September 30, 2002. Retired miners or non-working miners are not eligible. MSHA initiated the current X-ray program in response to recommendations by a federal advisory committee.