A West Virginia University expert is scheduled to testify in support of the proposed Appalachian Community Health Act, which calls for scientific studies on the health impacts of mountaintop removal mining. In his testimony prepared for delivery before the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, Michael McCawley will discuss previous studies that have found higher rates of disease in MTR areas and exposure assessments that indicate a causal – not just correlative – relationship between MTR air pollution and increased rates of chronic disease.

"Previous health effects studies have found that mountain top removal areas have significantly higher rates of disease. Exposure assessment work also indicates that measured air pollution levels are likely sufficient to cause those increased rates of disease. The health effects of exposure to the type of  particles found are supported by dozens of independently written and peer-reviewed scientific articles that offer similar evidence, for similar health outcomes, from similar exposure levels, around the country and around the world.”

“As a scientist, my own research has concerned assessing the air pollution exposure to residents in MTR areas. My findings clearly show that there is evidence to believe the air pollution levels in this region are sufficient to account for an increased prevalence of disease. There is also ample evidence in the scientific literature that the relationship is not simply correlative but causal. A true and unbiased review of the published scientific literature would, I believe, support that conclusion.”

“I applaud the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources for its introduction of the Appalachian Communities Health Emergency Act. This Act will allow a better understanding of the effects of mountain top removal activities – not only from the air exposures but also from the water and the mining waste that are affecting the people in these areas. The coal miners working in, and the citizens living near, mountain top removal operations have suffered the consequences of these operations for too long. The introduction of the Appalachian Communities Health Emergency Act is a step in the right direction and I applaud the Subcommittee for taking a stand on behalf of the impacted citizens of Appalachia.” — Michael McCawley, WVU School of Public Health


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