Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis-Attributable Years of Potential Life Lost to Life Expectancy and Potential Life Lost Before Age 65 Years - United States, 1999-2016

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2018 Aug 3;67(30):819-824. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6730a3.


Coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWP) is a preventable occupational lung disease caused by inhaling coal mine dust that can lead to premature* death (1,2). To assess trends in premature mortality attributed to CWP (3), CDC analyzed underlying causes of death data from 1999 to 2016, the most recent years for which complete data are available. Years of potential life lost to life expectancy (YPLL) and years of potential life lost before age 65 years (YPLL65)§ were calculated (4). During 1999-2016, a total of 38,358 YPLL (mean per decedent = 8.8 years) and 2,707 YPLL65 (mean per decedent = 7.3 years) were attributed to CWP. The CWP-attributable YPLL decreased from 3,300 in 1999 to 1,813 in 2007 (p<0.05). No significant change in YPLL occurred after 2007. During 1996-2016, however, the mean YPLL per decedent significantly increased from 8.1 to 12.6 per decedent (p<0.001). Overall, CWP-attributable YPLL65 did not change. The mean YPLL65 per decedent decreased from 6.5 in 1999 to 4.3 in 2002 (p<0.05), sharply increased to 8.9 in 2005, and then gradually decreased to 6.5 in 2016 (p<0.001). Increases in YPLL per decedent during 1999-2016 indicate that over time decedents aged ≥25 years with CWP lost more years of life relative to their life expectancies, suggesting increased CWP severity and rapid disease progression. This finding underscores the need for strengthening proven prevention measures to prevent premature CWP-associated mortality.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anthracosis / mortality*
  • Coal Mining*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy / trends*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality, Premature / trends*
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality*
  • United States / epidemiology