July 24, 2011 WKRN-TV, Nashville
Poverty in Appalachia is concentrated in the communities around mountaintop removal mines, and people living in those areas suffer greater risk of early deaths, according to West Virginia University study. The study by Michael Hendryx, an associate professor in the WVU Department of Community Medicine, found that mountaintop mining areas in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia had significantly higher annual death rates, higher total poverty rates and child poverty rates compared to other counties in 2000-07. The study appears in the current Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice, The Charleston Gazette reported. Hendryx also noted that residents near mountaintop removal mines face the combined risks of exposure to potential environmental hazards from coal and mining-related chemicals, along with economic vulnerability that comes with low education, depressed property values and employment instability.