Black Lung

What is black lung?

Black lung, or coal workers' pneumoconiosis, is the name given lung diseases caused by inhaling coal-mine dust. Only the smallest dust particles make it past the nose, mouth and throat to the alveoli deep in the lungs.

  1. The alveoli, or air sacs, are responsible for exchanging gases with the blood. They are located at the ends of each bronchiole
  2. Macrophages, a type of blood cell, collect foreign particles and carry them to where they can be coughed out or swallowed.
  3. If too much dust is inhaled over an extended period of time, some particles and dust-laden macrophages collect permanently in the lungs.