Integrity Of Streams And Cancer Mortality

Ecological Integrity of Streams Related to Human Cancer Mortality Rates

Nathaniel Hitt and Michael Hendryx

EcoHealth, April 2010


Keywords:  Ecological integrity, cancer, coal mining, streams, West Virginia

Purpose:  This study investigates whether the ecological integrity of streams provides an indicator of human cancer mortality rates in West Virginia.

Important Findings:  This study linked the ecological integrity of streams to cancer mortality in nearby communities of West Virginia.  Even after accounting for smoking and poverty, both known predictors for cancer mortality, the results still indicated an important link between ecological integrity and public health.

Significant Quote:  “Our results demonstrated significant relationships between ecological integrity and human cancer mortality in West Virginia, and suggested important effects of coal mining on ecological communities and public health.”

Results:  This study found significant links between coal mining, decreased ecological integrity, and increasing cancer mortality rates.  Digestive, breast, respiratory, and urinary cancer mortality rates were significantly correlated to ecological integrity.  These findings indicate that West Virginians living near streams polluted by mine waste are more likely to die of cancer.


Hitt, NP. "Ecological Integrity of Streams Related to Human Cancer Mortality Rates." EcoHealth. 7 (2010): 91-104.