By Addie Goss
Laramie, WY – A state epidemiologist says a recent study of mining communities in West Virginia should not worry people in Wyoming. The study found that West Virginians living near coal mines have higher-than-normal rates of chronic heart, lung, and kidney diseases.
But Joe Grandpre at the Wyoming Department of Health says this study does not prove that coal pollution is actually causing these diseases: "Folks that tend to live and work in blue-collar communities have slightly higher smoking rates, and while that was taken into account some, maybe there's other factors that could also be leading to some of these increases in chronic diseases."
He also says coal is mined differently in West Virginia than it is in Wyoming.
Grandpre says more research is necessary to prove a link between coal and disease in West Virginia... and that it would be interesting to do a similar study here.