Public Health in Surface Coal Mining Communities

Photograph of Professor Michael hendryx

Michael Hendryx, PhD, is Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Public Health, Indiana University Bloomington, USA. He has published over 150 peer reviewed research articles, and previously served as the Director of two federally funded research centers. His primary research interests are in areas of health equity, environmental exposures, and evaluation of health policy. Much of his recent work has documented public health and environmental exposure disparities for people who live near surface coal mining operations in Appalachia in the US. He is also currently a Fulbright Distinguished Chair at the University of Newcastle, working with Australian colleagues on studies of women’s health across the lifespan in relation to social and environmental risks.

This presentation will review studies conducted by the speaker on associations between public health indicators and surface coal mining. Particular attention will be paid to evidence for adverse public health in relation to a type of surface mining practiced in the United States, namely mountaintop removal. Findings from epidemiological studies document disease risk for populations living in proximity to surface mining. Environmental studies indicate that water
and air pollution exist in residential areas close to mining. Possible similarities to surface coal mining in Australia will be briefly addressed, as will policy implications of the findings.