This chapter addresses the increasing concern over the validity and reproducibility of results obtained from data analysis. The addition of this chapter is a recognition of the importance of this topic and an acknowledgment that a deeper understanding of this area is needed for those analyzing data. Classification: Some of the most significant improvements in the text have been in the two chapters on classification.
The introductory chapter uses the decision tree classifier for illustration, but the discussion on many topics—those that apply across all classification approaches—has been greatly expanded and clarified, including topics such as overfitting, underfitting, the impact of training size, model complexity, model selection, and common pitfalls in model evaluation. Almost every section of the advanced classification chapter has been significantly updated. The material on Bayesian networks, support vector machines, and artificial neural networks has been significantly expanded. We have added a separate section on deep networks to address the current developments in this area.
Chronic exposure to silica, even in low doses, can cause lung cancer as well as silicosis, a potentially fatal disease characterized by chest pain and difficulty breathing. For Rick Bradford, a retired teacher who lives in Edwight, mountaintop removal dust was a fact of life for the 20 years he said the mines were active around his house. Bradford said they would crush rock right in front of his house, which he worried exacerbated lung problems from before the mining began.
Huge plumes of dust are visible when miners blast mountains — it once was so bad, Bradford says he reported it to his state Department of Environmental Protection — but recent scientific research indicates that the particulates filling the air at Edwight that are too small for the eye to see could be responsible for some of the health disparities in his area.
After identifying the size and composition of particulate matter near mountaintop removal sites, West Virginia University scientists conducted multiple experiments on rats and human cells that found the dust can be carcinogenic and cause cardiovascular disease. The study found that after three months of exposure, the lung cells showed significantly higher rates of cell growth and motility, which are carcinogenic properties of malignant cells, than those exposed to a control sample. Two additional studies tested the impact of the dust on cardiovascular health.
In one, scientists injected rats with a dose equivalent to 1. Appalachian surface miners, who largely work on mountaintop removal mines, suffer from disproportionately higher rates of black lung disease compared to other surface miners, which may be another indication of the toxicity of the dust mountaintop removal generates. NIOSH found that 3. Bill Carter, who worked as a trucker on mountaintop removal sites for 25 years and now has black lung disease, said that he would haul excavated rock up to two miles before dumping it. The data collected under that program is not disaggregated by state, but the overall numbers indicate higher rates of CWP among surface miners than the previous ad hoc program had measured.
She noted that experts are beginning to call the disease Coal Mine Dust Lung Disease to capture this risk. The US Centers for Disease Control and other experts have cited increased exposure to silica-rich rock dust for an unprecedented level of black lung disease in central Appalachian miners over the past two decades.
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Sherry, who lives with her granddaughter, shares a well with her son, Jason, who lives next door. According to Sherry and Jason, the water started to become discolored around and over the years their foot well slowly dried up so that today they have no choice but to bathe and wash their clothes and dishes in water pumped from the creek behind their house — a creek that they assume is polluted by the mountaintop coal mine, as well as from sewage piped directly into it by neighbors living upstream.
Sherry, along with 15 other families who live nearby, sued the coal company operating the mine, Dynamic Energy, a subsidiary of a company that at the time was owned by the governor of West Virginia, Jim Justice. Examples abound of people who believe their water — and health — has been harmed by coal mining. But the risk of water pollution is inherent to coal mining, since it can trigger changes in the chemical composition and flow patterns of surface and groundwater.
The problem is that mountaintop removal severely contaminates streams. In , the EPA estimated that if all existing permits were implemented, by valley fills of excavated rock would have buried an estimated 2, miles of stream. The health risks of groundwater contamination are discussed in further detail below, but people who rely on private wells may be especially vulnerable to exposure because there are no state laws mandating water quality standards and testing of well water or programs to monitor for mining-related contamination, so they could be unaware of contamination that is going untreated.
Users of public water supplies may also be at risk, but there is often more source water protection for public supplies, the water is treated and its quality monitored before being delivered through a public system. Junior Walt has been fishing, hunting, and picking ginseng around mountains now being mined for as long as he can remember; he said he killed his first deer when he was four years old on Cherry Pond Mountain, which has since been blasted for coal. Echoing many others, he told Human Rights Watch that at 27 years old he can already see the devastation of the streams.
That died out in my lifetime. The EPA conducted water analyses of streams near mountaintop removal and found that the contamination was wreaking havoc on these ecosystems. Respiratory, digestive, urinary, and breast cancer mortality rates increase in areas of central Appalachia with ecologically damaged streams, according to one study by a US Geological Survey biologist and Hendryx examining linkages between polluted streams and human cancer rates.
A number of the metals found in streams contaminated from mountaintop mining pose health risks if ingested. According to the World Health Organization, selenium in high doses can cause gastrointestinal problems and harm skin, teeth, and hair; it also had adverse reproductive impacts in animal studies.
Scott Simonton, an environmental engineer with an expertise in the health impacts of mining-related water contamination, stressed in an interview with Human Rights Watch that there is insufficient research into health effects of mining-related water contamination. Most studies analyze the occupational risk of acute, short-term exposure, rather than chronic low-level exposure in homes, but adverse health impacts, especially for sensitive people such as asthmatics, have been found after short-term exposure at concentrations as low as two parts per million ppm.
Sulfates and other metals found in impacted streams can also cause lead pipes and joints to erode, which may explain the presence of lead in several of the wells near Coal Mountain. Moreover, Human Rights Watch is unaware of any study that has examined the presence of chemicals from coal processing, diesel exhaust, explosives, and other mining-related activities, many of which are unregulated, in surface or groundwater near mountaintop removal mining activities.
The private wells tested near Coal Mountain, Wyoming County, West Virginia, all had alarmingly high levels of heavy metals consistent with coal mining pollution, such as iron and manganese, that made them unfit for use, although residents continued to use water from these wells for bathing and cleaning. Nearly all had lead in their water, including four above 20 ppb, the level at which the EPA is required to action for public water systems.
The families living near the Coal Mountain mine with whom Human Rights Watch spoke said that they worry constantly about the potential health impacts of contamination in their water. While they all said they stopped drinking or cooking with the water from the contaminated wells, they continue to use it for bathing and brushing teeth except the family whose well dried up. Indeed, both arsenic and lead are colorless, tasteless, and odorless, and arsenic cannot be eliminated using conventional household filters. His health only began to improve, he said, in , when the court ordered the coal company to provide an alternative water source to all the families who had sued while their case remained pending.
But the coal company took back the water they had provided after the first group of 16 families lost their case, and he worries his health problems will worsen. Elevated levels of all four of these metals were found in wells near Coal Mountain, rendering the water unusable notwithstanding its health risks. Residents describe the costs associated with losing their water source as financially devastating, especially since they were already struggling to make ends meet. Even with the filter, she needs to regularly replace her clothes, pipes, faucet, washing machine, and anything else that comes into contact with water, because it stains, corrodes or otherwise ruins her belongings.
Others, like Jason, described saving up to dig deeper wells with they can hit a safer source of groundwater deeper down — a financial risk, since there is no guarantee that the water quality will be better. Sherry spoke about how much her husband loved mining. As the Coal Mountain families suggest, residents who rely on private wells are especially vulnerable to exposure to contaminated water given the lack of any government support for monitoring or treatment of private wells—federal water quality standards do not apply to them.
As already noted, the risk of polluted streams contaminating groundwater increases in areas with a long history of underground mining, which is the case in nearly every county where mountaintop removal is prevalent. In fact, scientists who discovered lung cancer clusters in areas of Kentucky where mountaintop removal is prevalent suspected contaminated well water as a possible culprit.
In one of the few studies seeking to measure the contamination of private wells from surface mines, the US Geological Survey tested 58 wells near surface mines in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The tests found levels of metals in the mined area such as manganese, barium, iron, and magnesium that in some cases were staggeringly high and well beyond both drinking water standards applicable to public water supplies and levels in a control group of wells in unmined areas.
Despite the risks of well water contamination, there appear to be no public records indicating the number of residents in impacted areas who rely on private wells. In , the Appalachian Regional Council published a report based on data from that found that one out of every four Appalachians relied on well water — and as many as two in three people did in many of the counties where mountaintop mining is prevalent.
Residents reported a marked increase in connection to municipal water supplies over the last decade, but noted that some homes continue to rely on well water, especially those high in the mountains or in more rural counties.
maisonducalvet.com/dating-app-de-ledaa.php Lafferty, who works as a general practitioner in a mountaintop removal area in West Virginia, said his office asks all children the source of their household water and estimated that 10 percent rely on well water. But West Virginia, like most American states, does not publish data on the number, location, or depth of private wells, nor does it regulate their water quality or advise against using private wells in any particular area. Unlike private wells, the federal and state government regulates the quality of water available in public water systems, yet they nonetheless may be impacted by pollutants from mountaintop removal because their source water is often the same groundwater supply as private wells or surface water that is susceptible to MTR contamination.
Many communities in central Appalachia rely on smaller municipal water systems, which tend to have higher levels of violations than systems that serve larger numbers of people—in part because these systems often fail to engage in proper monitoring. The study authors estimated that while it was not possible to know the extent to which they comply with safe drinking water standards, based on information they were able to analyze, there would likely be five times more health-based violations than in counties without mountaintop removal if properly monitored. In addition, the EPA does not regulate some of the metals commonly found in streams contaminated by mountaintop mining, such as aluminum and manganese, because it does not consider them to pose a risk to healthy adults.
As discussed above, federal and state laws do not have standards for all possible chemicals used in coal operations. Coal mining companies and trade associations have consistently worked to cast doubt on the existence of any health risks created by mountaintop removal, despite the mounting evidence to the contrary. Such campaigns are not unusual. After two decades of advocacy and litigation challenging mountaintop removal, bolstered by a growing body of scientific research, proponents of better regulation achieved two small victories.
Both were promptly canceled under the Trump administration.
By , West Virginian government officials were sufficiently alarmed by the mounting evidence of the health risks of mountaintop removal that they had to act. Human Rights Watch viewed emails exchanged between Interior Department officials prior to making the decision that the agency sent to a journalist in response to a request made under the Freedom of Information Act FOIA.
Reviews Anniek did not begrudge him his deep commitment to his work; it was one of the things she loved about him. Without a solution — an obvious, attainable one — any policy could only fail. It was a hot day, high 80s, but the harbor breeze was salty and cool. The Obama plan also limited construction of drilling infrastructure, such as pipelines and roads, in sage grouse habitat and required companies that drill in restricted areas to pay into a fund to preserve and protect other habitat areas.
On August 18, at p. The Office of Inspector General investigated this decision at the request of Rep. Staff calendars show that in the months prior to halting the study, MacGregor and other senior agency staff met the National Mining Association and individual coal companies including Arch Coal, which operates mountaintop mines. At the time, 10 families who live near Coal Mountain had already filed a suit against his company alleging its mountaintop removal activities had contaminated their well water.
Several of the West Virginia University scientists whose research helped trigger the NAS study said the coal industry sought to undermine their work. According to Hendryx and other West Virginia University scientists involved in the studies, a coal mining company twice invoked the Freedom of Information Act FOIA to demand Hendryx and other researchers produce all their emails, notes, drafts, data sets, and interview questions relating to several studies they published. It was obvious to me it was a way to harass me, make me waste my time. Industry representatives also criticized the research in the media.
Following the publication of the study showing higher rates of birth defects in mountaintop removal counties, a law firm representing the National Mining Association suggested that inbreeding may be to blame. This line of argument has been repeated by other industry representatives, including the National Mining Association.
The initiative would fund researchers from eight universities, including West Virginia University, to study the human and ecological impact of coal. In , ARIES hired Steven Lamm, then the president of a Washington-based consulting firm specializing in environmental and occupational health issues, to scrutinize the study by Ahern and Hendryx showing elevated rates of birth defects in mountaintop removal counties. However, Lamm changed several parameters of the original analysis, including limiting it to West Virginia data, whereas Ahern had included all Appalachian counties, and removing birth sites with less than a thousand births, leaving only 44 hospitals.
Lamm explained his reasons in a letter to Human Rights Watch, reproduced in full as an appendix to this report, and maintains that the changes did not affect his conclusions. They cherrypicked this and manipulated that until they got the answer their paymaster requires.
Some ARIES-funded studies did support findings that surface mining has potential negative health impacts, but the coal industry has emphasized the few that are inconclusive or show no adverse impact, as well as other favorable studies it had funded.
These studies have generally served to erode the appearance of scientific consensus. The narrative that no such consensus exists is then used by industry leaders as a powerful argument against regulation. From the outset, mining companies understood that environmental regulations enacted under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act and the Clean Water Act could pose an existential threat to mountaintop removal.
Rules under both laws include provisions protecting streams, a goal inherently at odds with a form of mining that depends on burying them.