Black lung disease is caused by exposure to coal dust.  Silicosis is caused by exposure to silica or rock dust.  According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH), 1 in 10 underground coal miners who have worked in coal mines for at least 25 years will develop black lung.  But that number is even higher for coal miners in central Appalachia where the prevalence of black lung in coal miners is 1 in 5.

black lung xray

Black Lung and Silicosis

Black lung and silicosis, also known as pneumoconiosis, are incurable, progressive, and debilitating conditions affecting the lungs.  Frustratingly, all are preventable.

Coal Miners, metal miners, and other industrial workers wear dust masks or respirators to avoid breathing the dust created during mining, sand blasting, and other dust filled work environments.  Unfortunately, defective dust masks have been attributed to these serious lung injuries.

Defective Dust Masks

In February 2016, a jury awarded a Kentucky man $8 million when they found defective dust masks manufactured by Mine Safety Appliances (MSA) caused his black lung disease.  In April 2018, another jury awarded $67.5 million to two coal miners who claimed that defective 3M dust masks led to their diagnosis of black lung disease.  Current lawsuits allege that 3M knew as far back as 1975 that their coal dust masks did not provide adequate protection.


Manufacturers that manufactured or sold defective dust masks and respirators include, but are not limited to:

defective dust mask

  •  Mine Safety Appliance (MSA)
  • 3M
  • American Optical
  • Cabot
  • AO Safety or AOS
  • Moldex
  • Eastern States Mine Supply
  • Fairmont Supply Company
  • Persinger Supply Company
  • Raleigh Mine and Industrial
  • Kentucky Mine Supply Company

Symptoms of Black Lung and Silicosisdefective dust mask

Symptoms of black lung and silicosis include:

  • Persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Increased mucous
  • Pain when breathing
  • Fatigue
  • X-rays show spots on lungs

Do I Have a Defective Dust Mask Claim?

Davis & Crump is currently reviewing dust mask induced injury cases throughout the United States. If you or a loved one is a coal miner, metal miner, or other industrial worker, and have been diagnosed with black lung disease, silicosis, or pneumoconiosis, you should contact the dust mask attorneys at Davis & Crump for a free consultation.  Fill out a free claim evaluation, or email us at, or call us toll free at 1-800-277-0300.


Fill out a free claim evaluation or call us at 1-800-277-0300 to get started.