Navigation Links
Large numbers of birth defects seen near mountaintop mining operations
Date:6/23/2011

SPOKANE, Wash.Birth defects are significantly more common in areas of mountaintop coal mining and are on the rise as the practice becomes more common, according to a study by researchers at Washington State University and West Virginia University.

The researchers, led by Melissa Ahern, health economist and associate professor in WSU's College of Pharmacy, found 235 birth defects per 10,000 births where mountaintop mining is most common in four central Appalachian states. That's nearly twice the rate of 144 defects per 10,000 in non-mining areas.

Previous studies have found low birth weights and increased levels of adult disease and death in coal mining areas. This study offers one of the first indications that health problems are disproportionately concentrated specifically in mountaintop mining areas.

The findings "contribute to the growing evidence that mountaintop mining is done at substantial expense to the environment, to local economies and to human health," the authors conclude in the current issue of the peer-reviewed journal, Environmental Research.

The study is based on an analysis of more than 1.8 million birth records between 1996 and 2003. It compared the incidence of birth defects in mountaintop mining areas, other mining areas and areas without mining.

Mountaintop mining involves using explosives to remove ridges and deposit the rock and soil in nearby valleys. More than 2,700 mountain ridges, as well as thousands of rivers, have been destroyed or altered by the technique in portions of eastern Kentucky, eastern Tennessee, southern West Virginia, and southwestern Virginia. Peer-reviewed research has documented elevated levels of pollutants in these areas, including mercury, lead, and arsenic.

Driven by an increased demand for the fuel, including cleaner low-sulfur coal, this type of mining increased 250 percent between 1985 and 2005.

The study found counties in and near mountaintop mining areas had higher rates of birth defects for five out of six types of birth defects, including circulatory/respiratory , central nervous system, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, and urogenital defects. These defect rates became more pronounced in the more recent period studied, 2000-2003, suggesting the health effects of mountaintop mining-related air and water contamination may be cumulative.

Residents of the region tend to have less education, less prenatal care, more smoking and more alcohol use during pregnancy. But after controlling for socioeconomic and behavioral risks, the researchers still found residents in mountaintop mining areas had significantly higher rates of birth defects.


'/>"/>

Contact: Melissa Ahern, Associate Professor, WSU Spokane
ahernm@wsu.edu
509-358-7982
Washington State University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. College scientist cites enlarged skeletal muscles as reason birds exist
2. Landsat 5 satellite helps emergency managers fight largest fire in Arizona history
3. Major flooding on the Mississippi River likely to cause large Gulf of Mexico dead zone
4. Glaciations may have larger influence on biodiversity tan current climate
5. Glaciations may have larger influence on biodiversity than current climate
6. Caltech researchers build largest biochemical circuit out of small synthetic DNA molecules
7. EUREKA, the largest European network for industrial R&D and innovation, launches E!NNOVEST
8. Scientists discover the largest assembly of whale sharks ever recorded
9. The Pantanal: A book on the ecology of the largest contiguous wetland in the world
10. Undergraduate institutions should play larger research role
11. Large differences in mortality between urban and isolated rural areas
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Large numbers of birth defects seen near mountaintop mining operations
(Date:3/14/2016)... March 14, 2016 http://www.apimages.com ... --> - Renvoi : image disponible via ... --> --> DERMALOG, le ... de nouveaux lecteurs d,empreintes digitales pour l,enregistrement des ... sera utilisé pour produire des cartes d,identité aux ...
(Date:3/11/2016)... -- --> --> ... Market by Technology (Pattern Recognition), by Component (Hardware, Software, ... (On-Premises and Cloud), by Industry Vertical and by Region ... global market is expected to grow from USD 12.49 ... at a CAGR of 19.1%. , ...
(Date:3/10/2016)... --  Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS ) today announced ... testing its biometric identity solution at the Otay Mesa border ... identify certain non-U.S. citizens leaving the country. ... determine the efficiency and accuracy of using biometric technologies in ... until May 2016. --> the United States ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... ... Lady had been battling arthritis since the age of two and at the ... Hannah sought the help of Dr Jeff Christiansen of Superior Veterinary Surgical Solutions ... help with the pain of Lady’s arthritis. Dr Christiansen suggested that in conjunction with ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Media Cybernetics, global image analysis leader, announces ... reflects a results-driven revitalization for a company with a renewed focus on innovation ... crisp, refreshed logo and a new web presence. , “I believe that the ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... LONDON , May 23, 2016 - ... by 40% - Frontage Implement a Single Platform to ... Compliance and Traceability Within the Bioanalytical lab Frontage Laboratories, ... the United States and China , ... its laboratory facilities. In addition to serving as the global electronic ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 20, 2016 , ... Kablooe Design, ... goods companies, today announced its official 25th anniversary of the business. “We have worked ... so grateful to our customers for the privilege and honor of serving their product ...
Breaking Biology Technology: