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Drawing on peer-reviewed scientific and medical research, Dr. Lockwood meticulously details the symptoms of climate change and their medical side effects.
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Coal Ash: Toxic – and Leaking
Coal ash – the waste material left after coal is burned – contains arsenic, mercury, lead, and over a dozen other heavy metals, many of them toxic. And disposal of the growing mounds of coal ash is creating grave risks to human health.
Toxic constituents of coal ash are blowing, spilling and leaching (dissolving and percolating) from storage units into air, land and human drinking water, posing an acute risk of cancer and neurological effects as well as many other negative health impacts: heart damage, lung disease, kidney disease, reproductive problems, gastrointestinal illness, birth defects, and impaired bone growth in children.
This ash, which is generated at coal-fired power plants across the country, is the second-largest industrial waste stream in the country.
Coal Ash Resources
PSR offers several valuable resources on coal ash and its damaging effects on health:
- PSR’s report, Coal Ash: The Toxic Threat to our Health and Environment, provides a comprehensive overview of the issue: the threats coal ash poses to human health, examples of damage cases, problems with disposal, and recommendations for health-protective policy.
- Selling Our Health Down the River, coauthored by PSR with four other organizations, focuses on coal ash contamination of rivers and other waterways.
- This white paper, EPA's Blind Spot: Hexavalent Chromium in Coal Ash, written with Earthjustice and Environmental Integrity Project, focuses on a highly carcinogenic material frequently found in coal ash.
- For quick background basics, this PSR Q&A coal ash fact sheet summarizes what coal ash is, how it is stored, and its risks to human health.
- This PSR fact sheet provides quick information on the damage to health from six toxics in coal ash.
Page Updated September 20, 2016
Webinar: Health Risks of Nuclear Power
As PSR chapters promote the transition to clean renewable energy, some are finding that nuclear power is being proposed as renewable. This webinar explores exactly why nuclear is not clean, not safe and not renewable. Read more »
Fracking Compendium 5 Water Excerpt
Given the timely and important consideration of the issue by state officials in Florida, Physicians for Social Responsibility, along with Concerned Health Professionals of New York, has released excerpts from the upcoming Fifth Edition of the Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking. Released in Miami in advance of the full report, this new document contains an up-to-date analysis and compilation of the science on water contamination risks from drilling, fracking, and associated activities. Read more »
Natural Gas: Not a healthy or climate-protective solution for the Clean Power Plan
Building natural gas plants to replace coal-fired power is not a solution to the climate crisis; it merely replaces one fossil fuel with another. Read more »
In the Spotlight
April 28, 2018
2018 Greenfield Peace Writing Scholarship Awards Ceremony
Join Oregon PSR to celebrate the high school student winners of this year's scholarship. Featuring keynote speaker Marshallese anti-nuclear and climate activist and poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner. April 28 at 6 pm in Portland, Oregon.