Assessments of ecological integrity are commonly used for conservation planning, but are they also relevant for understanding public health and disease?
In this study, Hitt and Hendryx answer this question in the affirmative, demonstrating that the ecological integrity of stream benthic macroinvertebrate communities is related to human cancer mortality in West Virginia, USA.
The authors concluded that, although the macroinvertebrate data analyzed in their study were collected to assess the quality of aquatic life, such ecological assessments offer valuable insights for public health.
See: Ken Ward Jr. April 21, 2010. The Charleston Gazette | Coal Tattoo. "New WVU-Va Tech study links water quality and cancer deaths in West Virginia coalfields".