Black Lung: 3 Types, Causes, and Symptoms

By | February 20, 2020
Black Lung

Black Lung is a lung disease caused by the long-term inhalation of coal dust. This disease is also known as pneumoconiosis coal workers, can occur in two forms, namely Simple and complicated. The simple type is usually mild, while the type of complicated can be fatal.

Coal burning dust will release a number of pollutants such as SO2, NOx and PM 2.5 plus acid rain, heavy metals emissions such as mercury, arsenic, nickel, chromium and lead (Pb). As a result, people will be exposed to pollution that can trigger stroke diseases, ischemic heart disease, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and others due to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

These chemical compounds are NOx (Nitrogen oxide) consisting of monoxide (NO) and Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in action with H2O and O2 will form H2NO3 and SO2 (Sulfur oxide) which consists of SO2 and SO3 react with water and oxygen to H2SO4. H2NO3 and H2SO4 are acidic with a PH of < 5.9 that causes acid rain.

Also PM 2.5 which is a very small one is invisible to the eyes, Mercury and Arsenic which is very dangerous and toxic. In the world, there is no technology that is able to cope with ash completely, because of chemical compounds that are harmful and toxic.

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Types of black lung


In the simple black lung, coal powders gathered around the bronchiolus. Although relatively inert and does not cause much reaction, the coal powder will spread throughout the lungs and visible as small black spots on the chest X-ray photo.


Although the coal powder will not clog the airway. But each year, between 1 to 2% of people with simple black lungs, will develop into a more serious form of disease called progressive massive fibrosis, characterized by the formation of a wide scar tissue in the lungs, With a diameter above 1 centimeter.

Although the exposure of coal dust is no longer possible, the progressive, massive fibrosis will deteriorate. Scar tissue can cause damage to the tissues and blood vessels of the lungs.

Another form.

Caplan syndrome is a rare disorder, but can attack coal miners suffering from rheumatic arthritis. Large, rounded scar tissue nodules will develop rapidly in the lungs. Such nodules may also be formed in people exposed to coal dust, although they do not suffer from black lung.


Black Lung Causes

Black lung is the result of a long-term coal powder being destroyed. Smo**king does not cause an increase in the incidence rate of black lung, but it can provide an additional effect that is harmful to the lungs. The risk of suffering from black lung is associated with the length and breadth of exposure to coal dust. Most workers affected are over 50 years old. The disease was found in 6 of 100,000 people.

Here are the causes of black lung:

  • Coal powder
  • Asbestos fibers (precarious buildings)
  • Medication (long-term use and without a doctor’s prescription)
  • Various kinds (vehicle smoke, burning trash and others)
  • Alcohol (any form of alco**hol including wi**ne)
  • Fine Grain Cement
  • Preservatives for Making Shoes
  • Welding (metal welding or material the fibers can be inhaled through the nasal cavity)
  • Smo**king (due to tar and Nicotin that can enter through the mouth and nose in the form of smo**ke)
  • Dust (can be free radicals that exist on the road, building construction site etc.)
  • Crystalline silica (mineral silica compounds that exist in minerals or from mining in the form of granite, quartz sand etc.)


Simple black lung, usually does not cause symptoms. But many sufferers who experience chronic cough and eases shortness of breath because they also suffer from emphysema (due to smo**king) or bronchitis (due to smo**king or exposure to other toxic industrial pollutants). Severe progressive, massive Fibrosis also cause cough and shortness of breath.

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