Mountaintop-removal mining is not only bad for the environment, it's bad — very bad — for the health of the people who are exposed to it. A new study, based on a door-to-door survey, found that in communities exposed to this type of mining, cancer rates were twice as high as in communities that weren’t exposed. That's after controlling for all of those other cancer-causing factors: age, sex, smoking, occupation, etc.
Kate Sheppard at Mother Jones puts this in context:
Nationally, 3.9 percent of Americans are cancer survivors, according to the Centers for Disease Control, but the rate in West Virginia is as high as 9.4 percent. This door-to-door survey found that the rate in the parts of the state affected by surface mining is actually 14.4 percent — a full 5 percent higher than the rest of the state. If the rates were projected across the 1.2 million people living in the region, that would mean as many as 60,000 additional cancer cases.
Imagine that three out of every 20 people you know were fighting cancer. That's what we're talking about here.