Coal pollution undermines health

Coal pollutants affect all major body organ systems and contribute to four of the five leading causes of mortality in the United States: heart disease, cancer, stroke, and chronic lower respiratory diseases, concludes a scathing report entitled “Coal’s Assault on Human Health” and issued by Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Each step of the coal lifecycle – mining, transportation, washing, combustion, and disposing of post-combustion waste – impacts human health. Coal combustion in particular contributes to asthma, lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke, diseases that affect large portions of the US population. Exposure to the emissions from coal combustion interferes with lung development, increases the risk of heart attacks, and compromises intellectual capacity due to mercury exposure, the report warns.

The report is available at: www.psr.org/resources/coals-assault-on-human-health.html

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