Causes of Health Problems in Miners

Topics: Coal Mining

Many coal miners breathe in the pollutants of coal dust and one of the effects of coal mining is the development of black lung disease. It is caused by long-term subjection to coal dust. Dust particles collect in the tissues of the lungs and it results in injury to the lungs. Besides creating critical health problems for coal miners, there are also serious health problems that can occur outside of the mine and above ground. Those who live relatively close to mines pose the highest risks because they are exposed to blowing dust from the uncovered piles of coal, as well as dust from vehicles, power plants, and factories.

Besides breathing in the harmful pollutant of coal dust, it also creates hazy air and water. Overburden would push into the streams and essentially leach arsenic into the water. There are toxins found in coal dust, such as arsenic and mercury. Epidemiology reports indicate that those who live in mountaintop mining regions are found to have more cases of high blood pressure, kidney disease, and respiratory disorders.

Melissa Ahern of Washington State University has done studies of the mortality rates in central Appalachian counties with and without surface mining. Her studies of 1.8 million births throughout central Appalachia indicated that those living in mining regions were much more likely to die at a younger age.

There is a widespread E. coli outbreak from romaine lettuce that was grown in Yuma, Arizona. There have been 121 cases of the illness and one death. Most people usually get sick within 2-8 days after eating the bacteria.

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The majority of people will recover within 5-7 days, but some may develop a form of kidney failure called a hemolytic uremic syndrome. E. coli is caused by bacteria in food that is typically sourced to poor sanitation and poor food handling. Its effects of it include gastrointestinal infections. Common symptoms include diarrhea that can be bloody, severe stomach cramps, and vomiting. The problem with this outbreak of E. coli is that we eat romaine lettuce raw, which increases the likelihood of getting the disease. Health officials are investigating this outbreak, but they have not determined a particular grower, manufacturer, farm, supplier, or brand as the culprit. Epidemiology determines the spread of the disease as well as when and where cases have occurred. The US Food and Drug Administration determined that Harrison Farms in Yuma, Arizona has grown romaine lettuce that caused the illness of eight individuals.

In Hawaii, there are plans in place for an emergency evacuation due to hundreds of earthquakes on the eastern side of the Big Island. Officials are concerned that these earthquakes could cause the Kilauea Volcano, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, to erupt. A large amount of earthquakes is due to the collapse of a crater floor that is a volcanic cone in the eastern rift zone of the volcano. According to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, the probability of a volcanic eruption is “possible but not imminent” (Park and Sutton). Hawaiian residents have noticed small cracks forming in the roads, but there is not any steam or heat escaping from them. Volcanic eruptions can produce lethal quantities of toxic gases, but long-term exposure to a lower dose also can pose a significant hazard. Volcanic gases have long-term effects that are misunderstood. Epidemiologically, the effects of the gases can cause epidemic diseases and reduce the immune system’s resistance to ocular, digestive, and respiratory problems. Volcanic gas is a form of particulate matter, so the most common effect is respiratory damage, such as asthma, bronchitis, and cancer. Particulates are particles in the air that are small enough to breathe into the lungs. These particles become stuck in the small air sacs in our lungs and create irritation. The inflammation can make lung conditions, such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema, worse.

According to the textbook, sustainability is the condition in which human society can go on indefinitely and future generations can have a standard of living as high as our own. To live sustainably, we have to look for new methods of problem-solving. International governments meet to deal with environmental concerns. A past meeting related to sustainable development is the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), otherwise known as Earth Summit. This took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. There were representatives from 179 countries. It symbolized new levels of environmental recognition and agreement. The meeting resulted in the production of Agenda 21, which is a method to tackle a variety of environmental issues while also maintaining economic development. It included new ways to educate future generations on sustainable development, new methods to take care of natural resources, and how to participate in the creation of a sustainable economy. Its overall goal was to create a world in which all life is full of dignity and respect. It also produced the Rio Declaration, or Earth Charter, which laid out policies necessary for sustainable development. The conference instituted the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD).

A current attempt at achieving sustainability is the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). Senator Pearnel Charles Jr. of Jamaica is participating in the 37th session of ECLAC to fight for the sustainable growth and advancement of Jamaica. Charles is also the State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. The sessions occur every other year, and this year it is taking place at the Palacio de Convenciones in Havana, Cuba from May 7-11. The purpose of the meeting is to evaluate and discuss the work and efforts of the organization over the past two years. The officials at the meeting discuss what is affecting the sustainable development of a particular area and the best practices to attain economic and social development. There are several key items on this year´s agenda. There will be implementation and development of the strategies to be used at the 2030 meeting. Some of the most unequal regions throughout the world are Latin America and the Caribbean, so the officials at the meeting will be discussing the importance of equality. There will also be a discussion on South-South cooperation.

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Causes of Health Problems in Miners. (2022, May 25). Retrieved from

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