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Health Effects: Summary and Conclusions

Author: Jefferson H. Dickey MD

Summary and Conclusions

I have reviewed the medical literature and find that the air pollutants emitted by power plants causes many and serious adverse health effects. Outdated power plants emit high levels of nitrogen and sulfur oxides, which are converted in atmospheric reactions to ozone and particulate air pollution. In cross sectional, time series, and prospective cohort studies; in community and laboratory exposure studies; these pollutants have been associated with pulmonary inflammation, declines in lung function, chest illnesses, asthma attacks, increased rates of emergency room visits, increased rates of hospitalizations, and increased rates of mortality. The data are convincing. The association between ozone and many adverse health effects is certainly causal, and the association with excess mortality is certainly robust and may well be causal. The National Institutes of Health has published the conclusion that the association between particulate air pollution and adverse health effects should be considered causal. The health benefit to the public nationally of mitigating particulate air pollution is estimated to be $32 billion. A review of energy policy in Public Health Reports, a publication of the American Public Health Association finds that "Technologies to prevent (air) pollution in the ... utility sector(s) can significantly reduce these emissions while reducing the energy bills of consumers and businesses. In short, clean energy technologies represent a very cost-effective investment in public health." Sacrificing human life and health for utility industry interests in outdated technology is incomprehensible in a modern and civilized society.

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Page Updated July 30, 2009