An investigation into the relationship between coal workers' pneumoconiosis and dust exposure in U.S. coal miners

Am Ind Hyg Assoc J. 1992 Aug;53(8):486-92. doi: 10.1080/15298669291360012.


The National Study of Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis (NSCWP) is a large, continuing epidemiologic study of the respiratory health of U.S. coal miners. By using information from the study, prevalence of coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWP) was related to indexes of dust exposure obtained from research and compliance sampling data. Clear relationships between prevalences of both simple CWP and progressive massive fibrosis (PMF) and estimated dust exposure were seen. Additional effects independently associated with coal rank (% carbon) and age were also seen. Logistic model fitting indicated that between 2% and 12% of miners exposed to a 2-mg/m3 dust environment in bituminous coal mines would be expected to have Category 2 or greater CWP after a 40-yr working life; PMF would be expected for between 1.3% and 6.7%. The risks for anthracite miners appeared to be greater. There was a suggestion of a background level of abnormality, not associated with dust exposure, but increasing with age. Although there are certain weaknesses in the data used to derive these exposure estimates, the results are in general agreement with, but somewhat greater than, some recent findings for British coal miners.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Coal Mining*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Pneumoconiosis / epidemiology*
  • Pneumoconiosis / etiology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prevalence
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology