More disease and death in coal towns: report

A study which shows coal mining communities overseas have higher rates of disease and death has experts calling for a report into the study of health impacts in the Hunter Valley.

The study examined evidence from communities near coal mines and coal powered fire stations finding increased rates of lung, kidney and heart disease, the ABC reported.

Lead author of the study, Professor Ruth Colagiuri from the University of Sydney said the results were concerning.

"Excess deaths, respiratory problems, heart problems, bladder and kidney cancer in some cases, a number of different cancers, skin cancer," Colagiuri told the ABC.

"We need to really find out, we need local studies that can tell us whether we need to be concerned about it and that can help weigh up the balance of benefits and harms of coal mining," she said.

"We simply don't have the findings about Australia.”

However, the report, commissioned by Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE), has been rejected by the NSW Minerals Council who said BZE misrepresented results to suit their anti-mining campaign in the area.

In a statement the council accused BZE of omitting to report that no specific studies were found to confirm mining-related disease clusters in the Hunter region.

"Mining is heavily regulated in NSW according to high environmental and health standards," the council said.

A report released earlier this month suggested Hunter Valley residents are being exposed to some toxins at levels more than 100 times higher than they were a decade on the region. ago.

Ammonia emissions increased 188per cent, benzene by 600per cent, sulphur dioxide by 312per cent and carbon monoxide by 6per cent.

Increased mining activity in the Hunter, including the approval of Ashton Coal’s Camberwell mine, has been met with community concern over the possible health affects the mine will have on residents.

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