Coal Health Study Blog


Public Event: Doctor van Steenis Speaks

The esteemed Doctor Dick van Steenis will be giving a public lecture next week concerning the health effects of open-cast coal extraction operations.   This is a rare opportunity to benefit from his 14 years of accumulated expertise on this particular subject.

Who:  Doctor Dick van Steenis
Where:  St. Bride Centre, Douglas, South Lanarkshire, Scotland
When:  Wednesday 23 September, 7:00PM

For those who many not be familiar with Doctor van Steenis’ efforts, he is renown for investigating matters of public health in circumstances where the levers of corporate and/or political power may be positioned against the interests of the people whose health is in question.  Over the past 15 years, Dr. van Steenis has researched the health effects of such particulate-generating operations as power stations, rubbish incinerators, and open-cast coal mines.  His work has been noted by Monbiot of the UK Guardian as early as 1999 (see http://www.monbiot.com/archives/1999/06/20/poisoning-the-poor/ ):

Dr Dick van Steenis is a retired GP who, in 1994, was asked to look at the possible health effects of pollution from power stations in South Wales. He struck upon the simple device of mapping the use of asthma inhalers by primary school children. He was astonished to discover that, before long, he was able to predict the number of asthma patients to within one or two per cent, simply by measuring how far they lived from the nearest major source of pollution. In some villages, he found as many as 38 per cent of four and five year olds using inhalers.

On Wednesday’s lecture, Dr. van Steenis will discuss his findings regarding the ill-health effects of open-cast coal mines.  Given his extensive investigations into this topic, and given how pressing the matter is to the residents of Douglasdale and other  communities above Scotland’s extensive coal seams, we ask the public to restrict their questions to the subject at hand.  If enough interest in other topics is noted, the good Doctor will be lobbied for another speaking date.

Dr. van Steenis’ lecture will be recorded, published online, and made available by DVD for those without access to broadband internet.  Those who have questions they would like to ask of Dr. van Steenis, but who are unable to attend, are invited to post their questions in the comment section of this blog post, or to email their questions here to coalhealthstudy@gmail.com — feel free to include your email and phone so that the organizers may contact you.

Time permitting, the organizers will attempt to incorporate your questions in front of the audience, but if that’s not possible will make every effort to interview Dr. van Steenis with your questions and publish the interview online and to the DVD.

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