Coal powered energy is a public health issue
Precious little research has been done in Australia despite coal communities like those in the Upper Hunter region of New South Wales asking for comprehensive health studies for nearly a decade.
Earlier this year an article in the MJA highlighted the health impacts of coal and summarises the available literature,1 but governments appear reluctant to find information that would slow the mining juggernaut and the flow of royalties.
Coal is a health hazard because every stage in the life cycle of its production from exploration, extraction, processing, transport and combustion produces a waste stream of air and water pollutants that harm human health.
Communities living around mountaintop removal coal mines in the US have a higher incidence of cancer, cardiovascular disease, lung and kidney disease, low birth weight as well as higher rates of birth defects and learning difficulties, even when results are adjusted for age, level of