A new study suggests that babies born close to mountaintop mining activity are more likely to suffer birth defects. Carried out by a team of university researches, data for Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia between 1996 and 2003, concerning 1.8 million individuals, says babies born in the vicinity of such activity are 26 per cent more likely to have these problems at birth.

Published by Environmental Research, and entitled “The Association Between Mountaintop Mining and Birth Defects Among Live Births in Central Appalachia, 1996-2003,” the work is available for viewing online at sciencedirect.com, and has already done the rounds, resulting in various groups calling out for further attention to the findings. It is believed to be the first such study ever conducted.