Debunked: Mountaintop mining and cancer risk

A new study in the Journal of Community Health claims to link mountaintop mining with increased cancer risk concluding:

Self-reported cancer rates were significantly higher in the mining versus the non-mining area after control for respondent age, sex, smoking, occupational history, and family cancer history (odds ratio = 2.03, 95% confidence interval = 1.32–3.13). Mountaintop mining is linked to increased community cancer risk.

But the problem is that there was no increase in cancer incidence among the 146 miners included in the study (about 19% of study subjects) and it is the miners who would reasonably be expected to have the greatest exposures to the supposed carcinogens associated with mining.

The researchers (activists?) brush off the miner contradiction by asserting that the miners were not exposed to whatever carcinogens are in mountaintop communities and claiming a “healthy worker effect.” Whatever. Also, about 60% of the study population were current or former smokers and as we know from anti-tobacco hysterics smoking is the root of all public health evil.

2 thoughts on “Debunked: Mountaintop mining and cancer risk”

  1. Don’t let one poor study cloud your judgment. obviously particles that contain heavy metals and radioactive particles from blasting are going to make it into someones lungs and create a DNA replication error, hope its not someone you know.

  2. Um, don’t the miners live in the same mining communities? I would think they spend much more time at home than at work in the mine. So why aren’t they affected even if somehow the mines are safer than the surrounding communities?

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