Many jobs have inherent dangers. We often hear about the risks that police officers, firefighters, loggers, fishermen and others face each day. But what about careers in which the dangers accumulate over time?
Coal miners, too, face hazards daily -- cave ins, poison gas, coal-dust explosions and more. But even more common among coal miners is black lung disease. In fact, the chronic respiratory ailment has hit a 25-year high in Appalachia. It affects nearly 20 percent of people who work in coal mines for 25 years or more. To combat this vocational epidemic, the federal government runs the Black Lung Program, providing benefits to workers who suffer from this disease and their survivors.