This Town Is So Toxic, They Want It Wiped off the Map

Articles | January 17 2018
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By Nathalie Baptiste

Annetta Coffman can name 35 people in her neighborhood who have recently died from cancer—and that includes her own family. Coffman’s mother died of cancer in 2007, and three years ago her 18-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer. “Every single neighbor I’ve had has died of cancer,” Coffman told Mother Jones.

Coffman lives in Minden, West Virginia, an impossibly small town of roughly 250 people in the heart of Appalachia, where coal mining once made it a thriving community. Now, all that remains are dilapidated homes and toxic waste that residents say is making them sick at an alarming rate. Fayette County, where Minden is located, struggles with high unemployment and poverty; the county of more than 44,000 people had an unemployment rate of nearly 8 percent in 2016, while 19 percent of the population lives in poverty.

The story of Minden is yet another example of how toxic pollution harms the poorest and vulnerable communities the most.  (Read more)