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Posted Thu Apr 22 2010: from The Charleston Gazette:
Study links stream pollution to higher cancer rates
West Virginians who live near streams polluted by coal mining are more likely to die of cancer, according to a first-of-its kind study published by researchers at West Virginia University and Virginia Tech. The study provides the first peer-reviewed look at the relationship between the biological health of Appalachian streams and public health of coalfield residents. Published in the scientific journal EcoHealth, the paper compares cancer death rates to population figures, coal production figures and a new index of how far people live to various types of coal-mining operations. "We've known for years that stream organisms can be sentinels of environmental quality," said study co-author Nathaniel Hitt, a Virginia Tech stream ecologist who now works for the U.S. Geological Survey. "What we have now shown is that these organisms are also indicators of public health."
[Read more stories about: coal issues, contamination, ecosystem interrelationships, health impacts]

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