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Coal Power kills a ‘staggering’ number of Americans


Eldorado

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An estimated 460,000 deaths in the U.S. were attributable to coal-fired power plant pollution between 1999 and 2020, new research finds

Particulate pollution from coal plants is likely far more deadly than EPA regulations recognize, according to a study published in Science over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Exposure to fine particulate air pollutants from coal-fired power plants has an associated risk of mortality that is more than double that of PM2.5 from all other sources, according to the study from researchers at Harvard University, George Mason University and University of Texas, Austin.

Full article: Scientific American

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Back when homes were heated with coal a lot of people died due to carbon monoxide poisoning. The fumes themselves are highly toxic.

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I looked up the Keystone Power Plant in Pennsylvania because I'd never heard of it. It's out by Pittsburgh and is scheduled to shut down in 2028. But there's a big issue that may close it sooner. There's others also.

EPA ruling could shutter W. Pa power plant ahead of schedule – Pennsylvania Capital-Star (penncapital-star.com)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found that a western Pennsylvania power plant can no longer dump toxic coal ash into unlined ponds, a ruling that could close the plant before its planned retirement in 2028.

Along with coal-powered plants in Texas, Arizona, Michigan, and North Dakota, Keystone-Conemaugh Projects, LLC staved off upgrading its coal ash disposal at its plant in New Florence, Pa., on the Conemaugh River by claiming it was up to snuff with Obama-era rules.

The EPA thought otherwise on Tuesday, finding potential release of coal ash toxins at all six sites among other rule violations, according to the Sierra Club.

Coal ash is a byproduct of burning coal when water is turned into steam to spin turbines and generate electricity. It contains contaminants such as mercury and arsenic that can poison water for drinking and recreation, which poses a problem for power plants that need water access but also need to store their waste.

In 2015, the EPA established safeguards against coal ash heaps after large spills in Tennessee and North Carolina caused widespread environmental and economic damage to nearby waterways and properties. However, implementing these rules has taken years and is still ongoing.

 

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I scanned the paper and maybe I missed it but, how do they control for all of the other potential factors that could be comorbidities other than air polution?  I didn't see anything except references to various types of particulate matter.  The decrease in excess deaths after scrubbers were installed in some plants indicates the particulates have a role but I don't see how they come up with such specific claims.  What's the old saying? "Torture the data long enough and it will admit to anything" ;) 

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14 hours ago, and-then said:

I scanned the paper and maybe I missed it but, how do they control for all of the other potential factors that could be comorbidities other than air polution?  I didn't see anything except references to various types of particulate matter.  The decrease in excess deaths after scrubbers were installed in some plants indicates the particulates have a role but I don't see how they come up with such specific claims.  What's the old saying? "Torture the data long enough and it will admit to anything" ;) 

The technique used to separate variation by source is called Partial Analysis of Variance (pANOVA).  Once separated, you can test each component to see if there is a significant contribution.

Doug

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