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US$5 Million to Treat Black Lung Disease
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China Coal Miner's Pneumoconiosis Treatment Foundation officials said yesterday that 42 million yuan (US$5.2 million) has been raised so far to help pay for more medical treatment for coal miners with black lung disease.

Xinhua News Agency reported today that the funds came from 18 large state-owned coal mining businesses, and that 338 miners had received treatment by September.

Pneumoconiosis, caused by long term exposure to mineral or metallic dust, is a major occupational disease in China with over 580,000 patients, 140,000 of whom have died.

More than 200,000 coal miners have black lung disease, the form of pneumoconiosis caused through inhaling coal dust over a long period of time.

The fund plans to offer treatment to 600 workers next year and endeavors to enlarge the annual number to 6,000-8,000 in three to five years.

The treatment, not a cure, involves flushing the patient's lungs with saline to reduce the amount of coal dust and alleviate the symptoms, the most common of which is shortness of breath.

(Xinhua News Agency November 1, 2005)

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