About the Study

In 2022, the Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) partnered with the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and commissioned contractor Summit Consulting, LLC (Summit) to conduct the Black Lung Incidence Study under the Administrative Data Research and Analysis portfolio of studies. This study uses secondary data to examine the rate of black lung disease across the United States, how black lung incidence compares between populations of interest (Appalachia and the Navajo Nation) and coal mining or non-coal mining communities, and how residential coal burning correlates with black lung incidence.

This Department of Labor-funded study was a result of the learning agenda process. It contributes to the labor evidence-base to inform data, methods, and tools and worker protection, labor standards, and workplace-related benefits programs and policies and addresses Departmental strategic goals and priorities.

The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) sponsors independent evaluations and research, primarily conducted by external, third-party contractors in accordance with the Department of Labor Evaluation Policy. CEO’s research development process includes extensive technical review at the design, data collection and analysis stage, including: external contractor review and OMB review and approval of data collection methods and instruments per the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), Institutional Review Board (IRB) review to ensure studies adhere to the highest ethical standards, review by academic peers (e.g., Technical Working Groups), and inputs from relevant DOL agency and program officials and CEO technical staff. Final reports undergo an additional independent expert technical review and a review for Section 508 compliance prior to publication. The resulting reports represent findings from this independent research and do not represent DOL positions or policies.