Report: Coal Ash Exposure Can Cause Cancer
A new report by Physicians for Social Responsibility and Earthjustice finds that exposure to coal ash, the byproduct of coal-fired power, can cause cancer, lung disease, kidney disease, mental retardation and respiratory problems. The report also finds that pollutants from coal ash can leak into drinking water.
Here’s a rundown of the report’s findings, from a summary provided by the groups:
- “The toxic metals arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium and selenium contained in coal ash contribute to several forms of cancer, as well as lung disease, kidney disease, mental retardation, breathing problems and even death.”
- “The report documents the analysis of 73 samples of coal ash waste that showed that pollutants including arsenic and selenium can leach into drinking water at levels exceeding those which the federal government defines as hazardous, sometimes by orders of magnitude.”
- “Coal ash spills, leaks and leaches into surface and ground water, are absorbed by fish and other animals, and can even be delivered by the air people breathe.”
- “Low-income communities often carry a disproportionate burden of living near coal ash facilities.”