Front Porch Blog

New Study Shows Correlation Between Cancer, Coal Mining, And Ecological Disintegrity

Another study – this one from Than Hitt and Dr. Michael Hendryx – shows a high correlation between coal mining and certain types of cancers. It also outlines what a loss of ecologic integrity can mean for human health. You can purchase the study here, as well as see the abstract and preview. The image below shows a respiratory cancer cluster, focused on southwestern West Virginia.

It is intuitive that ecological integrity and human health are intrinsically linked (e.g., Rapport, 1999; Di Giulio and Benson, 2002; Tabor, 2002). However, global analyses have shown weak or statistically insignificant relations between ecological integrity and human health (Sieswerda et al., 2001; Huynen et al., 2004). In contrast, our analysis demonstrated a significant association between ecological disintegrity and human cancer mortality in West Virginia, USA. We detected significant influences of known socioeconomic risk factors (smoking, poverty, and urbanization) on cancer mortality, but these factors did not account for the observed integrity–cancer relationship. Nor could we explain our observations as a statistical effect of spatial autocorrelation within the study area. Instead, our study demonstrated that the ecological integrity of streams was significantly related to public health in nearby areas. Although the macroinvertebrate data evaluated in this study were collected to assess the quality of aquatic life, our study revealed that these assessments may also contribute an improved understanding of human health and safety.





Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Comment