Breathe Free: Protecting Community Health from Toxic Coal Dust

November 30, 2011 @ 10:00am (AKST)


This event was a one hour discussion with Dr. Michael Hendryx whose groundbreaking research on the health effects of coal dust exposure reveals cause for concern about the public health risks posed by the proposed Wishbone Hill and Chuitna coal mines in Alaska.After exploiting coal reserves in much of the Lower-48, mining companies are turning to Alaska as the next place to strip mine for coal. Strip mining and associated coal industry activities would put salmon streams, air quality, human health, and community well-being at risk. People living near mining operations and along transportation routes may be exposed to and inhale coal dust. Breathing coal dust has been linked to higher rates of cardiopulmonary disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), high blood pressure, lung disease, and kidney disease.

Join this call to learn more about:

  • Learn about why coal dust is toxic;
  • Find out how people may be exposed to coal dust from mining operations, processing and cleaning plants, loading facilities, along transportation routes, and storage and export sites;
  • Learn about the numerous other community health risks associated with coal mining.

ACAT Coal Mining, Transportation and Health fact sheet

Living on Earth interview with Dr. Hendryx Note: This interview focuses on mountaintop removal coal mining. While mountaintop removal is different than the mining proposed in Alaska, this research is relevant because some of the chemicals of concern and exposure routes are the same.


Featured speakers

Dr. Michael Hendryx, Associate Professor in the Department of Community Medicine, West Virginia University. Dr Hendryx is also Director of the West Virginia Rural Health Research Center. Michael earned his PhD in Psychology from Northwestern University in 1986, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Methodology at the University of Chicago. He previously served on the faculty at the University of Iowa, and at Washington State University. His research interests focus on health disparities, particularly for residents of Appalachian coal mining communities. He has published approximately 85 peer reviewed research articles.

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