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The black lung epidemic that is sweeping Appalchia is the subject of town meeting here

Coal miners and family members impacted by black lung disease, medical professionals, legal experts, and community advocates will gather in Whitesburg this week to talk about the recent resurgence of black lung disease.

The event will be held from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. Thursday (August 23) at the Letcher County Extension Office, located above the Whitesburg bypass at 478 Extension Drive.

Recent statistics show that one in five veteran coal miners in Central Appalachia now has black lung disease, a lethal disease caused by dust exposure while working in the coal mining industry. The conversation will cover: testimony of the lived experience of black lung disease, recent epidemiological research about the resurgence of the disease, including in eastern Kentucky, and related legal and policy issues.

The event is co-sponsored by the Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center and Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation, both based in Whitesburg; the Black Lung Association of Southeastern Kentucky, and the National Coalition of Black Lung and Respiratory Disease Clinics.

Speakers include: Dr. Cara Halldin, epidemiologist with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; Dr. Brandon Crum, radiologist; Wes Addington, deputy director of the Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center; miners and mining families affected by black lung disease; Richard Yontz of the Southeast Kentucky Black Lung Association; Anthony Warlick of Mountain Comprehensive Healthcare Corporation, and Evan Smith, an attorney with Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center.

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