Howard BerkesHoward Berkes is a correspondent for the NPR Investigations Unit.
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
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
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
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.
Florida state Sen. Gary Farmer speaks during the 2017 session in Tallahassee, Fla. He has introduced a new bill that would eliminate the false identity provision and clarify the statute so that it applies only to people who commit traditional workers' comp fraud, such as lying about injuries or eligibility for benefits.
David Zatezalo, the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health, was asked about the advanced black lung epidemic at a congressional hearing in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 6, 2018.