The Queensland Resource Council has admitted it had become complacent with regulations because no new cases had been reported in Australia for decades. And a shift in mining technology several decades back may be at least in part to blame.
Equally important was a "rate retention" clause that allowed workers with progressive lung disease to transfer to jobs with lower exposure without loss of pay, seniority, or benefits.
Their bodies try to remove the dust by sending in special white blood cells called macrophages to engulf and chemically digest it.
Generally, what we call black lung is primarily silicosis in a coal miner, so silica exposure is significant to the development and progression of disease. This close connection has allowed the clinics to employ creative ways to tailor services to the needs of their local populations.
These cases generally require a number of years to develop. They will collect data on changes in gene expression in the lung tissue of mice after they are exposed to dusts to see if there are changes in biomarkers indicative of the development of pulmonary fibrosis.