Coal miner black-lung disease resurgence in Queensland to face Senate inquiry – by Jonathan Hair (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – February 11, 2016)

A Senate inquiry will investigate the sudden reappearance of the deadly coal miners’ disease known as black lung.

Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, or black lung, is a condition caused by breathing in excessive levels of coal dust.

Until recently, it was thought to have been eradicated from Australia. But late last year, the ABC revealed the disease had made a comeback.

Six Queensland coal mine workers have recently been diagnosed with the deadly condition.  Several of these victims worked in mines in Queensland’s Bowen Basin.

The Senate select committee on health will probe the issue by holding public hearings next month in Brisbane and in the north Queensland city of Mackay.

Committee chairperson senator Deborah O’Neill said they had been tasked with investigating why the disease had re-emerged.

“There are questions around it and that’s what we will be asking — how has this happened, what’s going on, is there adequate support for people whose diagnosis happens, what about prevention,” she said.

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