Howard Berkes Howard Berkes is a correspondent for the NPR Investigations Unit.
Howard Berkes
Stories By

Howard Berkes

Al Haynes, Who Captained United Flight 232 When It Crashed In Sioux City, Dies At 87

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/754485091/754485092" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A guard sits in his truck at the entrance to the Darby Coal Mine in Holmes Mill, Kentucky, on May 20, 2006 - the day an explosion in the mine killed five miners. The owners of the mine later failed to pay nearly $3 million in penalties for mine safety violations at Darby and other mines. Wade Payne/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Wade Payne/AP

On Tuesday, coal miners Danny Smith (left) and Greg Kelly are expected on Capitol Hill, where they'll ask lawmakers to fully restore a tax that pays for medical care for miners diagnosed with black lung. Both have the worst stage of the disease after years of mining. Rich-Joseph Facun for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Rich-Joseph Facun for NPR

Gary Hairston, a coal miner for 27 years, spoke at the hearing. He has been diagnosed with progressive massive fibrosis, the advanced stage of black lung disease. House Committee on Education and Labor hide caption

toggle caption
House Committee on Education and Labor

Coal Miners Grapple With Black Lung And Their Futures After Decades On The Job

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/687527742/687527743" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Coal miner Nick Stiltner reviews an X-ray of his lungs showing black lung disease at the Stone Mountain Clinic in Grundy, Va. Courtesy of Elaine McMillion Sheldon/PBS Frontline hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of Elaine McMillion Sheldon/PBS Frontline

Regulators Failed To Stop An Epidemic That Is Killing Thousands Of Coal Miners

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/677691997/677691998" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

"There's a lot of memories here, some good, some bad," says Smith, while reflecting on his years working at the now defunct Solid Energy mine in Pike County. Rich-Joseph Facun for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Rich-Joseph Facun for NPR

An Epidemic Is Killing Thousands Of Coal Miners. Regulators Could Have Stopped It

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/675253856/677895083" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

In central Appalachia, the black lung rate for working coal miners with at least 25 years experience underground is the highest it's been in a quarter century. Don Klumpp/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Don Klumpp/Getty Images

A roof bolter secures the roof of a newly mined section of a coal mine. Studies show roof bolters sometimes have high exposure to the silica dust that is especially toxic to lungs. Thorney Lieberman/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Thorney Lieberman/Getty Images

Sheralin Greene, 57, mined coal for 20 years. She now suffers paralyzing coughing fits from black lung and receives payments and medical care from the federal trust fund. Courtesy of Sheralin Greene hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of Sheralin Greene

The rate of the advanced stage of the deadly disease black lung is growing in central Appalachia, according to a new study. Tyler Stableford/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Tyler Stableford/Getty Images

New Studies Confirm A Surge In Coal Miners' Disease

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/613400710/613403285" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Scientific Studies Confirm A Spike In Black Lung Disease

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/613254363/613254364" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Excised and preserved lungs on display at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Morgantown, W.Va., in 2012, show the dramatic effect of black lung disease. Howard Berkes/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Howard Berkes/NPR

Severe black lung disease deeply scarred the lung of a 61-year-old West Virginia coal miner, which was removed as part of a lung transplant. Courtesy of NIOSH hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of NIOSH

Kentucky Lawmakers Limit Black Lung Claims Reviews Despite Epidemic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/598484688/598630228" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript