Health Impacts

On this page you can access the most recent scientific peer reviewed research on the health impacts of MTR and coal mining in general on local communities.  The research is listed in order of publication date.  Nine of the studies are specific to mountaintop removal.  Each page includes a summary of the purpose, results, and important quotes as well as a link to the full article. Some of the more recent articles do not have details yet as the papers are in press or recently published.  Please check back soon for updated information.  

Note:  These summary pages are written as introductions to the studies.  Please refer specifically to the attached papers to quote directly from the authors.


Ahern M, Hendryx M. (In Press) "Cancer mortality rates in Appalachian mountaintop mining areas." 

Hendryx M, Ducatman AM, Zullig KJ, Ahern MM, Crout R. (2012) "Adult tooth loss for residents of US coal mining and Appalachian counties."  

Hendryx M, Fulk F, McGinley A. (2012) "Public drinking water violations in mountaintop coal mining areas of West Virginia, USA."  

Knuckles TL, Stapleton PA, Minarchick VC, Esch L, McCawley M, Hendryx M, Nurkiewicz TR. (2012) "Air pollution particulate matter collected from an Appalachian mountaintop mining site induces microvascular dysfunction."


Ahern, M., M. Hendryx, J. Conley, E. Fedorko, A. Ducatman, and K. Zullig.  (2011)  “The association between mountaintop mining and birth defects among live births in central Appalachia, 1996–2003."

Epstein, P., J. Buonocore, K. Eckerle, M. Hendryx, B. M. Stout III, R. Heinberg, R. W. Clapp, B. May, N. L. Reinhart, M. M. Ahern, S. K. Doshi, and L. Glustrom. (2011) "Full cost accounting for the life cycle of coal." 

Esch, L. and M. Hendryx.  (2011) “Chronic Cardiovascular Disease Mortality in Mountaintop Mining Areas of Central Appalachian States.”

Hendryx, M., L. Wolfe, J. Luo, and B. Webb.  (2011) “Self-Reported Cancer Rates in Two Rural Areas of West Virginia with and Without Mountaintop Coal Mining.”

Hendryx, M.  (2011) “Poverty and Mortality Disparities in Central Appalachia: Mountaintop Mining and Environmental Justice.”

Zullig, KJ. and M. Hendryx. (2011)  “Health-Related Quality of Life Among Central Appalachian Residents in Mountaintop Mining Counties.”


Ahern, M., M. Mullett, K. MacKay and C. Hamilton.  (2010) “Residence in Coal-Mining Areas and Low Birth Weight Outcomes.”

Cain, L., and M. Hendryx.  (2010)  “Learning Outcomes among Students in relation to West Virginia Coal Mining: an Environmental Riskscape Approach.”

Hendryx, M., E. Fedorko, and A. Anesetti-Rotherme.  (2010) “A Geographical Information System-Based Analysis of Cancer Mortality and Population Exposure to Coal Mining Activities in West Virginia.” 

Hitt, NP.  (2010)  "Ecological Integrity of Streams Related to Human Cancer Mortality Rates."

Palmer, M.S., E. S. Bernhardt, W. H. Schlesinger, K. N. Eshleman, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, M. S. Hendryx, A. D. Lemly, G. E. Likens, O. L. Loucks, M. E. Power, P. S. White, P. R. Wilcock. (2010)  “Mountaintop Mining Consequences.”

Zullig, K., and M. Hendryx.  (2010) “A Comparative Analysis of Health-Related Quality of Life for Residents of U.S.Counties with and without Coal Mining."


Hendryx, M.  (2009)  “Mortality from heart, respiratory, and kidney disease in coal mining areas of Appalachia."

Hendryx, M. (2009)  “Mortality in Appalachian Coal Mining Regions: The Value of Statistical Life Lost."

Hendryx, M. and K. Zullig. (2009) “Higher Coronary Heart Disease and Heart Attack Morbidity in Appalachian Coal Mining Regions.”


Hendryx, M. (2008)  “Relations Between Health Indicators and Residential Proximity to Coal Mining in West Virginia."

Hendryx, M., K. O’Donnell and K. Horn.  (2008)  “Lung cancer mortality is elevated in coal-mining areas of Appalachia."

Hendryx, M. (2008)  “Mortality rates in Appalachian coal mining counties: 24 years behind the nation."


Hendryx, M., M. Ahern, and T. Nurkiewicz. (2007)  “Hospitalization Patterns Associated with Appalachian Coal Mining."


The map below indicates the counties in central Appalachia in which Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining occurs:


From Esch, L. and M. Hendryx.  (2011) “Chronic Cardiovascular Disease Mortality in Mountaintop Mining Areas of Central Appalachian States.”