Every year 24,000 people die prematurely because of pollution from coal-fired power plants.
Every year 38,000 heart attacks occur because of pollution from coal-fired power plants.
Every year 12,000 hospital admissions and 550,000 people suffering asthma attacks result from power plant pollution.
Every year, coal-fired power plants release 48 tons of mercury nationwide.
Power plants release over 40% of total U.S. C02 emissions, a primary contributor to global warming...
...in spite of the fact that coal sickens and kills all living things, industry CEO's (along with the politicians they have invested in) continue to push for more coal fired power plants.
...and now utilities want to burn (as biomass) our trees that capture and store harmful carbon dioxide and produce the oxygen we need to live.
Pregnant women and children —stay away from coal power plants!
Among the first group of children, prenatal exposure to coal-burning emissions was associated with significantly lower average developmental scores and reduced motor development at age two. In the second unexposed group, these adverse effects were no longer observed; and the frequency of delayed motor developmental was significantly reduced. (h/t Climate Progress) An estimated 3-4% of the 4 million babies born in the U.S. every year suffer from some kind of neurodevelopmental disability, which have been associated with a wide range of toxic chemicals.
We can now safely add coal to that list. Since the Columbia researchers controlled for exposures to other pollutants, such as tobacco smoke and lead, it's theoretically possible that we could find out how coal is affecting kids in the U.S. if the study were replicated here. In the meantime, we can only speculate as to how many children have cognitive development problems because of coal plants. Not that we need more reasons to stop building coal power plants, of course. But this study does serve to confirm the fact that burning coal is just a bad idea all around—so bad that it may be affecting us in ways we don't even know yet.
In a recent CNN/Opinion Research poll, 87% of Americans ranked education as either an "extremely important" or "very important" election issue in 2008. If we truly care about our children's mental health and educational development, here's a way to start working on those: No more coal-powered plants!