The Human Cost of Coal


Mountaintop's Removal's Effect on Humans and the Economy

There’s a common saying in Appalachia: what we do to the land, we do to the people. Recently, 21 peer-reviewed scientific studies have confirmed the truth of those words. Not only has mountaintop removal permanently destroyed more than 500 Appalachian mountains, but people living near the destruction are 50% more likely to die of cancer and 42% more likely to be born with birth defects compared with other people in Appalachia.

Data used in these studies are presented in the interactive map below and summarized here. Select any of the 10 regional data sets from the drop-down menu to begin exploring the health and socioeconomic consequences of mountaintop removal in Appalachia, or click on a county to see a detailed summary at the local level.

See the map: