UPDATE: HGD is no longer taking new clients for this case.
Recent lawsuits filed by coal mine workers allege 3M dust masks were defective and did not provide the safety the company marketed. Workers claimed to be exposed to coal dust while wearing the masks, ultimately causing black lung disease.
Those affected by the defective masks are entitled to compensation through the 3M dust mask class-action lawsuit.
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About the 3M Dust Mask Class Action Lawsuit
Coal mining is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Miners work in cramped spaces inside shafts that can cave in or flood in the blink of an eye. The poisonous gases freed through mining into the Earth can immediately sicken workers or cause slow-growing disease to spread through the body.
Coal miners lessen the risk of inhaling poisonous particles by wearing protective dust masks and respirators, a product the workers need to trust works efficiently. They entrust the respirators to protect against diseases like black lung disease, a deadly illness common among coal mine workers.
The 3M class-action lawsuit alleges that companies, including 3M, knew their masks and respirators (particularly those made before 1998) did not protect the wearers. The defective 3M respirators allegedly did not protect those working in coal mines from inhaling particles that later caused black lung disease.
The defendants in the 3M dust mask lawsuit accuse various mask-producing companies of negligence, breaching warranty, and product liability. They claim the mining companies knew the 3M masks were defective but still sold them to workers.
The following companies are just a few involved in the suit for allegedly selling defective respirators:
- American Optical Corporation
- Eastern States Mine Supply
- Fairmont Supply Co.
- Kentucky Mine Supply Co.
- Mine Safety Appliances
- Persinger Supply Co.
- Raleigh Mine and Industrial Supply
Black Lung Disease
Black lung disease occurs when someone inhales coal dust, giving it the name “coal workers’ pneumoconiosis,” or CWP. Inhaling copious amounts of coal dust over a long time leads to scarring in a person’s lungs, making it increasingly harder to breathe. The term “black lung disease” describes the color of the lungs of an afflicted person.
Given its name, CWP is most common among coal workers. Studies find that about 16 percent of coal mine workers in the United States will contract CWP, and the number is increasing. Experts link the rise in CWP to new coal extraction methods that make the coal’s mineral content more hazardous. With the increase in CWP cases, proper protective masks and respirators are becoming increasingly important.
There are two types of coal worker’s pneumoconiosis: simple and complicated
Symptoms of Black Lung Disease
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Black lung disease is a slow-developing illness that often starts with no symptoms, so many coal miners don’t realize they have CWP until they’re well into retirement.
The early stages of black lung disease display the following symptoms:
- Cough, Sometimes with Black Mucus
- Shortness of Breath
- Tightness in Chest
In the earliest stages, the above symptoms may not be present except following strenuous activity. As CWP progresses in a person, the symptoms become more prominent, even occurring while resting.
In advanced stages of CWP, nodules prevent oxygen from reaching the blood. A lack of oxygen in the blood affects most other parts of the body, especially the heart and brain.
Complicated pneumoconiosis is the most severe form of CWP. It occurs after long-term exposure to the harmful elements in coal dust. Also dubbed progressive massive fibrosis (PMF), there is a lot of scarring on the lungs. The irreversible damage causes detrimental effects to lung function, making it difficult to breathe.
Simple pneumoconiosis is the early stage of black lung disease. Small amounts of scar tissue are visible on an X-ray in the form of nodule clusters. Many afflicted with simple pneumoconiosis don’t experience any symptoms.
Black Lung Disease Diagnosis
There currently is no specific test for black lung disease. However, a doctor will note symptoms and history, mainly if a person has worked or still works in a coal mine.
To help diagnose black lung disease, a doctor will ask about symptoms and any treatments that might’ve helped. They’ll note work history, any exposure to harmful products or chemicals, and whether the patient wore a mask or respirator. X-rays and CT scans will also help doctors find nodules and scarring on lung tissue.
Black Lung Disease Treatment
Unfortunately, there is no cure for CWP, and there are no treatments that can reverse the damage. However, doctors prescribe specific remedies and recommend to slow progression and improve a person’s quality of life. Doctors will prescribe medications to help patients breathe better and encourage them to avoid smoking.
The most common treatment for black lung disease is pulmonary rehabilitation. The program helps patients with CWP and other lung conditions breathe better and stay active. As the disease progresses in a patient, doctors will prescribe extra oxygen. The most advanced cases require an individual to be on supplemental oxygen at all times.
Lastly, the rarest treatment is a lung transplant for the most severe cases of black lung disease.
Am I Affected by the 3M Dust Mask Class Action Lawsuit?
Anyone in the United States who has worked in a coal mine and was diagnosed with black lung disease may benefit from the 3M dust mask class-action lawsuit. Anyone affected who believes they wore a defective 3M respirator can file a lawsuit against the company and receive compensation.
The 3M dust mask class action lawsuit is a suit against companies who allegedly sold defective 3M respirators, knowing they were flawed. Coal mine workers who wore these masks were at risk for inhaling coal dust, the leading cause of black lung disease.
Black lung disease, or coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, is a progressive lung disease that causes tissue scarring. The disease progresses slowly, making it increasingly difficult to breathe. In the most severe cases, CWP restricts oxygen to the blood, affecting other organs.
Coal mine workers who developed black lung disease while wearing protective gear may benefit from the 3M dust mask class-action lawsuit.
If you or someone you know has had their life severely impacted by 3M’s negligence, call our law firm today. We may be able to get the compensation you deserve. However, don’t delay in contacting us. Litigation against 3M is ongoing and expected to culminate this year in a class action resolution. Please contact Taylor Bartlett at 205.549.4461 or 1.800.241.9779. We are now accepting cases on a contingency fee basis and look forward to helping those affected.