Study Shows Direct Connections Between Exposure to Mountaintop Removal Dust, Lung Cancer
A new study conducted by researchers from West Virginia University and Indiana University links mountaintop removal coal mining with health problems in nearby residents.
The study took dust samples from homes near a mountaintop removal site in West Virginia, as well as a control site far from mining in the eastern part of the state.
IU professor and study co-author Michael Hendryx says researchers exposed both human lung cells and mice with tumors to the dust. They concluded that the mountaintop removal dust promotes lung cancer development and helps the disease progress quickly.
There have been other studies on health problems related to mountaintop removal mining, but Hendryx says this is the first one with direct environmental data linking the process directly with lung cancer.
“I think if you look at the body of research from this study and from others that we’ve done, the types of changes that we see and the types of chemicals that we see in the dust, if you put it all together, then I think that we’re at a point where we can say dust from mountaintop removal activity increases lung cancer among the people that live there," said Hendryx.
The results of the study were published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science and Technology.