Higher Cancer Rates Near Mountaintop Removal Sites

Thursday, July 28th, 2011
posted by admin

A study released this week in the Journal of Community Health provides yet more evidence linking mountaintop removal mining to severe health impacts.

The study, “Self-Reported Cancer Rates in Two Rural Areas of West Virginia with and Without Mountaintop Coal Mining,” was based on door-to-door interviews conducted in the Coal River Valley (has Mountaintop Removal) and in Pocahontas County (does not have Mountaintop Removal.)

The Study found that people in the Coal River Valley were twice as likely to have had cancer as people surveyed in Pocahontas County. This was after controlling for age, sex, smoking, occupation, and family cancer history. The authors note that many of the chemicals found in coal and used in coal processing are carcinogenic; in addition, diesel exhaust from mining sites, coal processing, and coal trucking also contributes to cancer risk.

This study contributes to a growing body of public health research showing connections between living in an area impacted coal mining – particularly mountaintop removal mining – and higher risks of various health impacts, including birth defects, lung disease and kidney disease.

The results of this study confirm the urgency of ending strip mining now, before more lives are lost. This study comes as no surprise to local residents and activists who have been witnessing firsthand the impacts of strip mining on local communities’ health, safety and culture. As Catherine-Ann wrote in her initial statement “those who are drinking tainted water, breathing coal dust, and watching the mountains fall around them don’t need a scientific study to tell them what’s wrong”

“Efforts to reduce cancer and other health disparities in Appalachia must focus on mountaintop mining portions of the region.” The study abstract

One Response to “Higher Cancer Rates Near Mountaintop Removal Sites”

  1. […] permit on Coal River Mountain.  Despite community concerns over blasting damage, water pollution, increased cancer rates in the community, and destruction of their local mountain, the DEP is still planning to allow strip mining on Coal […]

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