The 3M dust mask class action lawsuit alleges that 3M and various other entities knew or should have known that their products didn’t adequately protect users from harm. In fact, certain dust masks made before 1998 may have been defective and may not have adequately protected coal miners from black lung-causing dust particles.
Let’s face it. The coal mining industry is a dangerous one to work in. When coal miners use their protective equipment, they expect it to work and be free from defects. Unfortunately, in the case of certain 3m dust masks, this was not the case.
The defendants have been accused of negligence, product liability and breach of warranty in knowingly selling defective 3m dust masks to workers in the coal mining industry.
Which Companies Sold Allegedly Defective 3M Respirators?
- Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company
- Eastern States Mine supply
- Fairmont Supply Company
- Persinger Supply Company
- Raleigh Mine and Industrial Supply
- Mine Safety Appliances
- American Optical Corp.
- Kentucky Mine Supply Company
- And many more
What is Black Lung Disease?
Black lung disease, or coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP), is a disease that develops from the inhalation of coal dust, according to the American Lung Association (ALA). The common name derives from the fact that those with the disease have lungs that appear black instead of the normal pink.
There are 2 forms of black lung disease: simple CWP and complicated CWP, which also involves progressive massive fibrosis (PMF).
- Simple CWP – This is the earliest stage of the disease. Some coal miners might show no symptoms at all. It is often characterized by clusters of nodules within the lungs that have formed where the coal dust has built up.
- Complicated CWP – This occurs after long-term exposure to coal dust. The disease can progress to the development of massive fibrosis in the lungs, which greatly affects lung function.
If CWP occurs with rheumatoid arthritis, it is called Caplan syndrome.
Coal workers black lung disease occurs when the coal dust builds up in the lungs over time and the lungs become visibly blackened. This dust buildup in the lungs can lead to extensive damage, including injury to the walls of the air sacs which then inhibit the exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide, a stiffening of the lungs that decreases the lungs’ ability to expand with oxygen, and very poor lung function in general.
How Serious Is Pneumoconiosis?
The severity of pneumoconiosis varies widely depending on the type of dust, how much of the lungs are affected and how intense the dust exposure was.
Pneumoconiosis sometimes causes no symptoms and is diagnosed during workplace surveillance programs that test workers to find early signs of pneumoconiosis using chest X-rays and/or spirometry (a breathing test to check how well air goes in and out of lungs). In rare cases, pneumoconiosis can be very severe and cause death.
Black Lung Disease Symptoms
In many cases, it can take years or even decades for symptoms of black lung disease to manifest. Many coal workers don’t even know they have the disease until they retire. When they do present, however, symptoms of black lung disease include:
- Cough, with or without black sputum
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Increased mucus production
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Decreased lung function
Is CWP Curable?
No. All of the conditions that encompass ‘black lung disease’ are progressive, and there is no cure for any of them, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. More than 76,000 coal mine workers have died from complications of black lung since 1968, the agency reports.
However, treatment options are available and often include medication aimed at keeping the airways open and reducing mucus production, oxygen therapy, and pulmonary rehabilitation.
Do I Have a 3M Dust Mask Class Action Lawsuit? Talk with a Lawyer
The Class Action Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in 3M dust mask lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new black lung disease cases in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one have been diagnosed with black lung disease, pneumoconiosis or any other lung illness after using a 3M dust mask or respirator, contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a 3M dust mask lawsuit and we can help.