"Study: Birth Defect Rates Higher in Mountaintop Removal Areas"

"CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Researchers found 'significantly higher' rates of birth defects in areas with mountaintop removal mines than in non-mining regions in central Appalachia, according to a study released Tuesday.

The study 'offers one of the first indications that health problems are disproportionately concentrated specifically in [mountaintop removal] areas. It's significant not only to people who live in coalfields but to policymakers as well,' said Michael Hendryx, an epidemiologist at West Virginia University.

Hendryx is one of the authors of the study, titled 'The Association between Mountaintop Mining and Birth Defects among Live Births in Central Appalachia, 1996-2003.'"

Paul J. Nyden reports for the Charleston Gazette June 21, 2011.

Source: Charleston Gazette, 06/22/2011