Causes Make an Appointment Refer a Patient Ask a Question Reviewed by E Brigitte Gottschall, MD (October 01, 2014) Coal worker’s pneumoconiosis (Black Lung disease) is caused by inhaling coal mine dust usually in occupational settings such as surface or underground coal mines. The dust may accumulate in the lungs over time and cause an inflammatory reaction and scarring. The disease may develop and progress while in exposure or after exposure to the coal mine dust has ended. Diagnosis Clinical Trials For more than 100 years, National Jewish Health has been committed to finding new treatments and cures for diseases. Search our clinical trials.