11 Dirty Facts About Coal

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11 dirty facts about coal

Clean coal is a myth.

Before I get into these facts about coal, listen to this Green Divas myEARTH360 Report about Duke Energy (a company I’d like to duke it out with) and their coal ash, uh, situation (the filthy byproduct of burning coal) and a bit of encouraging environmental news…

Now for the dirty, disturbing facts about coal…

1. There are no federal safeguards to protect our communities from coal ash or other water pollution caused by burning coal—and yet there are more than 1,100 coal ash sites nationwide.

2. Every year, the nation’s coal plants produce 140 million tons of coal ash pollution, the toxic by-product that is left over after the coal is burned.

3. Currently, coal-fired power plants are the largest single source of unregulated mercury pollution in the United States, emitting over 33 tons of toxic mercury each year.  Burning coal releases toxic mercury that rains down into rivers and streams. This poison then accumulates in the food chain, eventually making its way into our bodies when we eat contaminated fish. Download the Safe Sushi app!

4. Coal ash pollution contains high levels of toxic heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, selenium, and other cancer causing agents.

5. Living near a wet coal ash storage pond is significantly more dangerous than smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, according to a risk assessment done by the EPA.

6. Children are more susceptible to the health impacts of coal ash—and according to the EPA, 1.54 million children live near coal ash storage sites. Not only is coal ash toxic, it is likely to grow increasingly dangerous.
 
7. Coal-fired power plants are one of America’s biggest water polluters. In fact, power plants dump more toxins into our rivers and streams than any other industry in the United States, including the chemical, plastic, and paint-manufacturing industries.
 
8. In the United States, more than 40 percent of people live in areas with unhealthy levels of air pollution. Pollution from coal-fired power plants leads to smog (or ozone), a toxic compound and a dangerous irritant. Doctors liken inhaling smog to getting a sunburn on your lungs.
 
9. Soot pollution—a by-product from burning fossil fuels that results in small particles in the air composed of a mixture of metals, chemicals, and acid droplets—is one of the deadliest and most dangerous air pollutants.
 
10 Coal and gas-fired power plants emit more than 2.3 billion metric tons per year of carbon pollution, approximately 40 percent of total U.S. energy-related carbon pollution. Carbon pollution is the main contributor to climate disruption, making extreme weather worse—including more severe floods, widespread wildfires and record drought.
 
[source of facts 1-10 Beyond Coal]
 
11. Two words: Mountaintop removal.
 

 
 

TAKE ACTION!

Tell the EPA: Finish strong safeguards against toxic coal ash.

Bonus:

Listen the the latest episode of The Green Divas Radio Show

P.S. I thought I could embed the 60 Minutes episode about Duke Energy. But you’ll have to watch it on their site.

Conscious Consumer, Conservation, Earth News, Environment, GD Ticker, Green Divas Radio Show, GreenDivas myEARTH360 report, Renewable Energy, sustainability

About the author / 

Green Diva Lynn

Lynn Hasselberger is the former Managing Editor of The Green Divas blog and was a producer of the Green Divas Radio Show. She's also a mom, writer and award-winning cat-herder who lives in Chicagoland. Sunrises, running, yoga, chocolate and comedy are just a few of her fave things.

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