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Diagnoses of the most severe form of black lung disease, known as progressive massive fibrosis, are on the rise in Appalachia. The causes of this deadly trend aren’t entirely clear, though it may be linked to the silica rock dust associated with thinner layers of coal.
Appalachia’s forest are home to a stunning array of medicinal plants. A movement called forest farming is emerging to grow these plants in private forestland to decrease strains on plant populations and strengthen the market for the region’s botanicals.
Extracting coal and natural gas is linked to a range of health problems in Appalachia, including shorter life expectancies.
Wildflowers are one of Appalachia’s most vibrant symbols of summer. As the season’s end nears, we explore a few beautiful, unique flowers that blossom in late summer along mountain trails, forests and riverbeds.
Opioid abuse is on the rise across America, and Appalachia has been hit particularly hard. In response, some local governments and treatment centers are trying new treatment methods, with varying degrees of success. Efforts are also underway to curb the availability of opioid prescriptions and eliminate the stigma associated with addiction.
Coal ash has been linked to a number of health problems, and community concerns have spurred researchers from the University of North Carolina to investigate drinking water wells in the state.
On the outskirts of the Red River Gorge, hikers at Natural Bridge State Resort Park walk among natural sandstone structures and climb stairs amid thickets of rhododendron and the shade of hemlocks.
As the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines clear some of the regulatory hurdles in their way, communities have rallied to state public hearings on water quality certifications to voice their opposition.
Changes in federal health policy could leave even more residents without adequate access to healthcare — and increase the number of patients who rely on nonprofit safety net clinics. In Southwest Virginia, the grassroots group We Care aims to create more dialogue between the public and legislators about the healthcare system.
Construction of two natural gas pipelines has contaminated wetlands or local drinking water systems. State judges and agencies have halted construction in response.