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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2009 Dec 25;58(50):1412-6.

Coal workers' pneumoconiosis-related years of potential life lost before age 65 years - United States, 1968-2006.


Coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWP) is a preventable, slowly progressive parenchymal lung disease caused by inhalation and deposition of coal mine dust in the lungs. The incidence and rate of CWP progression is related to the amount of respirable coal dust to which miners were exposed during their working lifetime. Early pneumoconiosis can be asymptomatic, but advanced disease often leads to disability and premature death. To characterize the impact of premature mortality attributed to CWP in the United States, CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) analyzed annual underlying cause of death data from 1968-2006, the most recent years for which complete data were available. Years of potential life lost before age 65 years (YPLL), and mean YPLL were calculated using standard methodology. This report describes the results of that analysis, which indicate that during 1968-2006, a total of 22,625 YPLL were attributed to CWP (mean per decedent: 5.7). Annual YPLL attributed to CWP decreased 91.2%, from an average of 1,484 YPLL per year during 1968-1972 to 154 per year during 2002-2006. However, annual YPLL from CWP have been increasing since 2002, from 135 in that year to 169 YPLL in 2006, suggesting a need for strengthening CWP prevention measures. CDC intends to maintain surveillance of CWP deaths to determine future trends and promote safer work environments.

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