Organ and tissue donation forms vary from state to state. Some are very general, while others allow people to choose or restrict what they want to donate. hide caption

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Unlike organs, tissue doesn't need to be transplanted immediately. Storage facilities like Tissue Banks International in San Rafael, Calif., process and store donated tissue for later use in medical products or as transplants. Noah Berger/AP hide caption

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Chris Truitt holds a photo of his daughter, Alyssa, who died when she was 2, at his home in De Forest Wis. After donating her organs and tissues, he decided on a career change that made him rethink tissue donation. Narayan Mahon for NPR hide caption

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Human Tissue Donation

Calculating The Value Of Human Tissue Donation

Donating tissue is full of contradictions: A gift of generosity fuels a $1 billion industry.

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Coal miner Lee Hipshire in 1976, shortly after emerging from a mine in Logan County, W.Va., at the end of his shift. A few years later, Lee took early retirement because of pneumoconiosis, or black lung disease. He died at 57. Courtesy of Earl Dotter hide caption

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Coal miners are tested for black lung. Recently, the deadly disease has been discovered in younger miners and at more advanced stages. David Deal for NPR hide caption

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Coal miners are tested for black lung at a clinic in West Virginia. David Deal for NPR hide caption

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