New Links Found Between Water, Coal and Cancer

Story by Derek Speranza

New research suggests that residents in close proximity to coal plants have to worry about the water as much as they do about the air.

Nathaniel Hitt, Ph.D., of Viriginia Tech, recently published a study entitled “Ecological Integrity of Streams Related to Human Cancer Mortality Rates,” which correlates the ecological health of streams in West Virginia to the public health of those who live nearby.

The study concluded that there were “significant associations” between the lack of ecological integrity in the streams and human mortality rates from certain types of cancer.

“Our research shows the importance of streams for people,” Dr. Hitt said. “We learned that some of the smallest organisms living in streams can provide a warning system for one of the largest human health problems, cancer.”

According to a study released by the American Heart Association, air pollution caused by fossil fuel byproducts is another source of concern–linking it to risks such as heart attacks and strokes.

This, too, is a concern of West Virginia and the entire Appalachian region, which is dominated by the production of coal power.


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