Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

March 16, 2013

Report: Health risks high for mountaintop removal areas

Bissett, Stumbo dispute findings of WVU professor

FRANKFORT — People who live near mountaintop removal mining sites in Floyd County have significantly higher cancer death rates and suffer a higher incidence of other diseases than residents in other Kentucky Appalachian counties where mountaintop removal doesn’t occur.

That’s the conclusion of a study by Michael Hendryx, a professor in the School of Public Health at the University of West Virginia, who has done similar research in West Virginia. The report was published in The Journal of Rural Health.

The president of the Kentucky Coal Association, Bill Bissett, and Kentucky’s Speaker of the House, Greg Stumbo, who is from Floyd County, scoffed at the methodology and conclusions of the report.

“I don’t believe that stuff for a minute,” said Stumbo. “I’ve lived there all my life. There are no pollutants in the air. When you blow up something, it’s just dust for a little while and that’s the end of it. It’s not like the sky is blackened every day.”

Hendryx’s study disputes that, indicating small particulate matter like ammonium nitrate, silica and benzene, which have been linked to health problems, are present in the air near mountaintop removal sites. Streams and ground water are polluted.

Bev May, a nurse practitioner who lives along Wilson Creek in Floyd County where coal trucks daily pass her house, said it doesn’t require a scientific degree to realize coal dust, which covers houses and yards, is harmful.

May said the dust creates tiny, airborne particulate matter, too small to be trapped by cilia, very small hairs in the respiratory system which catch larger particles and expel them through mucus. Instead, the tiny particles are deposited directly into lung tissue and cause serious health problems.

“There are places in Floyd County where you have to drive through the dust every time you go through there because the coal trucks are dragging the dust and mud off the mine site,” May said. “I’m probably fine, but what about that child with asthma or the elderly person with COPD? That can’t be good for them.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Local counties see drop in unemployment

    Boyd County was one of 117 counties that saw a decrease in its unemployment rate between June 2013 and June 2014.
     

    July 27, 2014

  • 0726bigboy.JPG Big Boy to open Aug. 11

    The long-awaited Frisch’s Big Boy restaurant will open Aug. 11, and when it does it will be business as usual from day one: the eatery will open its doors to the early breakfast crowd at 6:30.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • SOAR meeting at MSU Aug. 6

    Morehead State University and St. Claire Regional Medical Center will present Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers as part of a "Health Impact Series" under the new Shaping Our Appalachian Region initiative.
     

    July 27, 2014

  • MSU moving business admin. program online

    Morehead State University’s School of Business Administration has announced its bachelor of business administration degree in computer information systems has moved totally online beginning the fall 2014 semester.
     

    July 27, 2014

  • Thefts, fraud reported to APD

    The following information was taken from Ashland Police Department reports:
     

    July 27, 2014

  • Raceland couple join Peace Corps

    A couple from Raceland will travel to the Republic of Botswana on Aug. 10 to begin training as volunteers in the Peace Corps.

    July 27, 2014

  • Missing Boyd inmate returns to jail

    The Boyd County inmate who walked away from a work detail on Saturday turned himself back in to the Boyd County Detention Center on Sunday.

    July 27, 2014

  • 0728MoreheadMusic_1457.jpg Hills alive with Old Time Music

    The hills surrounding Morehead were alive again this weekend with the sounds of fiddles, banjos and deep Appalachian voices that help keep old time mountain music alive in a modern world.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bill Clinton coming to eastern Kentucky to stump for Grimes

    By RONNIE ELLIS
    CNHI News Service

    GLASGOW — Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is again calling in the “Big Dog” in her quest to unseat five-term Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

    July 27, 2014

  • Tim Preston: Veterans, doughnuts, hog legs and jerky of squid: 7/27/14

    Are there any talented wreath makers reading this column?

    July 27, 2014