Black lung disease is considered a job-related illness. You get it when you inhale coal dust over a long period of time. Because it mainly affects coal miners, it’s also known as coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP).
The extent of the disease depends on how much dust has been inhaled and for how long.
There are two types of black lung disease: simple and complicated. Simple CWP means the lung has spots or scar tissue from the dust particles. Complicated CWP is called progressive massive fibrosis (PMF). People with PMF have a lot of scarring on their lungs.
Just because you work in the coal industry doesn’t mean you’ll get black lung disease. Estimates say around 16% of coal miners in the United States eventually may have lung issues from coal dust.