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Moving Mountains Lecture: Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining and Public Health

Michael Hendryx


-has permanently buried over 1200 miles of streams

-spoil is deposited in adjacent valleys

-Conductivity in streams and rivers increased. Conductivity shouldn't be that high


- Coal industry states: We need those jobs

Every coal mining job generates between 5 and 6 other jobs somewhere in the local economy

-Not true- the poverty rates in areas where mountaintop removal occurs, are very high

-Independent assessment: Generates only 2.35 jobs

Generates only 8 bill, direct, indirect, induced benefits

- coal mining areas low college attendance


low income

-no coal counties have the a normal income

-in fact, poverty rate where mining is significant, is highest


-High mortality rate

-Age -adjusted lung cancer in coal-mining areas very high

-Cardiopulmonary and kidney disease mortality are much higher in areas of Appalachia where mtm occurs. This has been readjusted for smoking, age, etc

- Self-reported health surveys from CDC

-Low birth rate, Birth defects

- Respiratory effects are more significant in woman than men.

We don't know why

-Paper towel story in town

-Mtm dust. Animal tests: dust kills heart cells. It impairs vascular function

-Ultrafines- particles the size of a virus. High surface to volume toxicity. High deposition rate.

-Annual deaths are much higher