Is There an Association of Circulatory Hospitalizations Independent of Mining Employment in Coal-Mining and Non–Coal-Mining Counties in West Virginia?

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Abstract

Objective:

Exposures associated with coal mining activities, including diesel fuel exhaust, products used in coal processing, and heavy metals and other forms of particulate matter, may impact the health of nearby residents. We investigated the relationships between county-level circulatory hospitalization rates (CHRs) in coal and non–coal-mining communities of West Virginia, coal production, coal employment, and sociodemographic factors.

Methods:

Direct age-adjusted CHRs were calculated using West Virginia hospitalizations from 2005 to 2009. Spatial regressions were conducted to explore associations between CHR and total, underground, and surface coal production.

Results:

After adjustment, neither total, nor surface, nor underground coal production was significantly related to rate of hospitalization for circulatory disease.

Conclusions:

Our findings underscore the significant role sociodemographic and behavioral factors play in the health and well-being of coal mining communities.

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