Underreported: Linking Cancer to the Permian Extinction

Thursday, March 11, 2010

For decades women in Xuan Wei, a county in southern China, have suffered from an astronomically high rate of lung cancer and the reason why has remained largely a mystery. Now, researchers think they have solved the case: the coal that is burned in Chinese kitchens is to blame, but this is not just any coal. Over 200 million years ago a particularly toxic kind of coal formed right around the time of the great Permian Extinction and it seems that the toxic chemicals from that event are still killing to this day. We’ll speak with Bob Finkelman, a geologist at the University of Texas at Dallas for today’s first Underreported segment.


Bob Finkelman,

Comments [3]


We've known for 30 years that lung cancer among Chinese women is remarkably high because of _wood smoke_ used in cooking and heating.

It's strange your guest didn't compare/contrast these rates.

Mar. 11 2010 01:47 PM
stefano giovannini from brooklyn ny

I always wondered about the pizza restaurants in NYC that use coal ovens. Is it cancerogenic to work in such an establishment? Is the pizza slice a health hazard?

I am from Italy and never seen a pizza being baked in a coal oven but in wood burning ovens.

It is slightly off topic, but somehow related.

Mar. 11 2010 01:45 PM

Are their volcanoes over such deposits?

Mar. 11 2010 01:35 PM

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