Originally posted by @sonhouse
Pretty much screams, we don't give a shyte about miners health doesn't it.
I don't think anyone doubts there are health effects to ripping 100 mountains apart.. Toxicity is all about dosage, though, and clearly more research is needed to find out how much is too much.
This article, for example, asserts that "mountaintop mining [is linked] to increased lung and kidney disease rates, as well as elevated death rates in surrounding communities". It's not an occupational effect, since non-miners (women) also show the same statistical trends. The death rate is significantly higher but not impressively higher (the study doesn't present a statistic, but it looks like ~990 vs. ~950 deaths per 100,000), and it is trending downwards.
What could explain that? Lots of things. Diet and exercise, other lifestyle choices, genetics, and (yes) dirty toxic air / water. It does not appear that the levels of sulfer or selenium in the water has ever been directly linked to adverse health outcomes. It'd be nice to know how they died i.e. cause of death. It seems like one lone serial killer could impact a death rate by 40 per 100,000.
More work is clearly needed. Why are they cutting funds? They cite "responsible use of taxpayer dollars" but they're halting a study that's already been funded for a year and only anticipates needing another year to complete. So this action actually wastes a year's worth of federal research dollars.