Lawmakers Urged To Study Coal's Effect On Health

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth want lawmakers to do more study on the health effects of coal-based electricity.

The citizens group invited Dr. Michael Hendryx of West Virginia University to testify before the House Health and Welfare Committee. Hendryx says his voluminous research on the health of residents of Appalachia clearly shows elevated mortality rates near coal mines.

“Chronic forms of heart disease, chronic forms of lung disease, kidney disease, and some forms of cancer, including lung cancer. We can adjust for factors like poverty, smoking, age, health insurance and a variety of other risks, and those elevated mortality rates are still present throughout Appalachia,” he says.

But Hendryx’s comments were met with skepticism from Bill Bissett of the Kentucky Coal Association, who told the committee Hendryx is not a medical doctor.