Coal Mining And Heart, Respiratory, And Kidney Disease

Mortality from heart, respiratory, and kidney disease in coal mining areas of Appalachia

Michael Hendryx

International Archives of Occupational Environmental Health, 2009


Keywords:  Heart disease, respiratory disease, kidney disease, mortality, coal mining, Appalachia

Purpose:  Hendryx investigates whether population mortality rates from heart, respoiratory and kidney disease were higher as a function of levels of Appalachian coal mining after control for other disease risk factors

Important Findings:  Hendryx found that chronic heart, respiratory, and kidney disease were significantly higher in coal mining areas of Appalachia than in non-mining areas. He states that coal mining activities expose residents to environmental contaminants like particulate matter and toxic chemicals, agents known to cause chronic disease.

Significant Quote:  Hendryx states that it is “critical to address issues of environmental equity and to reduce environmental and socioeconomic disparity through economic and policy interventions.”

Results:  Previously, research on community health impacts of coal mining in Appalachia was unavailable and only “anecdotal evidence” spoke of the health impacts of living close to mining activities.  This study shows that higher chronic heart, respiratory and kidney disease mortality in coal mining areas may partially reflect environmental exposure to particulate matter or toxic agents present in coal and released in its mining and processing.


Hendryx, M.  (2009)  "Mortality from heart, respiratory, and kidney disease in coal mining areas of Appalachia.” International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health. 82 (2009): 243-49.