What: Free screening for black lung disease

When: June 16 and June 17 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at San Juan Mine, County Road 5600 in Waterflow

June 18 and June 19 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Navajo Mine, County Road 6675 - 16 miles southwest of Fruitland

More info: Call the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health at 1-888-480-4042

FARMINGTON — The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health will conduct black lung disease screenings in two locations this week.

Pneumoconiosis, commonly known as black lung disease, is an occupational lung disease caused by inhaling coal dust when working in a coal mine, loading coal for storage, or working in a graphite mine or mill, according to the American Lung Association.

There are two types of the disease, the simple type is known as coal worker's pneumoconiosis, which can affect workers in mines of all sizes, and the advanced type is known as progressive massive fibrosis.

Progressive massive fibrosis is more prevalent in miners who work in underground mines.

The screenings will take place between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday at San Juan Mine in Waterflow and from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday at Navajo Mine in Fruitland, according to a press release from the institute, which is a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Walk-in clients will be accepted, but miners are encouraged to call for an appointment at 1-888-480-4042.

The health screenings are provided through a state-of-the-art mobile testing unit. Testing takes about 30 minutes and includes a history questionnaire, chest x-ray and breathing test.

Blood pressure screening will also be available. The individual is provided the results of their screening and the results are confidential.


There is no known treatment for black lung disease and the screenings are intended to provide early detection.

"NIOSH's commitment to prevention includes a dedicated effort towards early detection of black lung in coal miners," institute director John Howard said. "Through a screening program that is free and confidential, workers can be protected from diseases arising from their work as miners."

The series of health screenings began in April and have been taking place in Arizona, southern Colorado, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas and southern Utah.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 and nsmith@daily-times.com. Follow her @nsmithdt on Twitter.