As coal mining declines, community mental health problems linger []


The U.S. coal industry is in rapid decline, a shift marked not only by the bankruptcy of many mine operators in coal-rich Appalachia but also by a legacy of potential environmental and social disasters.

As mines close, states, the federal government and taxpayers are left wondering about the costs of cleaning up the abandoned land, especially at mountaintop removal sites, the most destructive type of mining. As coal companies go bankrupt, this has left states concerned taxpayers may have to pick up the environmental cleanup costs.

But there are also societal costs related to mountaintop removal mining’s impact on health and mental health. As an immunologist, I reviewed the research literature for specific effects of mountaintop removal mining on the immune system. I did not identify any pertinent information. However, I did find plenty of clues suggesting that health and mental health issues will pose enormous challenges to the affected coal communities, and will linger for decades.

Environmental contaminants

The communities that reside in proximity to the devastated lands where mountaintop removal mining occurs – some of the poorest in the nation – are concentrated in a 65-county area in southern West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, southwestern Virginia and northeastern Tennessee. They are also hit by the economic downturn caused by the decline of the local coal industry.

[For more of this story, written by Roberta Attanasio, go to]

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I wouldn't discount the impact of poverty and regional isolation on an increase in ACE score on the general  population. I would suggest ACE scores of 4 or more are the cause of increase in physical and mental health issues. 

The families will turn in on themselves with a threat of financial decline with the threat of a poor environment and not able to remove themselves from both exposures. 

I have a saying, "Check their dental plan".  I other words, if they are not taking care of their oral hygiene, they are practicing high risk behavior. A result of ACEs.

Since the whole nation benefited from the coal industry, the federal government should pay for the clean up.