Do you know that the pollutants from dirty electricity power plants can affect people’s health significantly? It is hard to imagine that behind the beneficial electricity generation comes deadly health effects. The hazardous substances from dirty electricity are infecting our body everyday without us realizing it.
Health Effects of Fossil Fuel Power Plants
Dirty coal power plants alone have caused many impacts on human’s health. In 2008 the World Health Organization (WHO) and other organizations calculated that coal particulates pollution cause approximately one million deaths annually across the world. Can you believe that? Number of people died in coal combustion related diseases was closed to pandemic disease such as HIV/AIDS. Coal combustion emissions also damage the respiratory, cardiovascular, and nervous systems and contribute to four of the top five leading causes of death.
Toxic substances in the coal-fired power plants waste – including arsenic, mercury, chromium, and cadmium – can contaminate drinking water supplies and damage vital human organs and the nervous system. One study found that one out of every 100 children who drink groundwater contaminated with arsenic from coal power plant wastes were at risk of developing cancer. Ecosystems too have been damaged – sometimes severely or permanently – by the disposal of coal plant waste.
These are numerous diseases caused by coal-fired power plants:
Coughing, Asthma, Bronchitis, Lung Cancer
Abnormal rate or rhythm of the heart, Chest pain, Coronary Cardiovascular Disease
-Nervous System Diseases
Stroke, Developmental delay
>>>>Ozone Smog and Fine Particulates From Fossil Fuel Power Plants
Ozone is the result of chemical reactions of nitrogen oxides emitted into the atmosphere; fine particulates may form either in power plant smokestacks or in the air as a result of the emissions of any of the three primary gasses from fossil generation plants - carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxides. Both ozone and fine particulates pose health risks within the vicinity of the emitting power plants or may travel hundreds of miles and pose health risks far from the sources of the emissions.
Ozone reacts readily with membranes lining the lung's air passages as well as the eye. Mounting scientific evidence links ozone to a number of short- and long-term respiratory and visual problems :
1. Decreased ability of the lungs to function properly, increasing respiratory illness, especially in children that are active outdoors.
2. A long list of breathing problems: shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, headaches and nausea.
3. Pronounced allergic reactions.
4. Increased hospital admissions for respiratory problems, especially for children with pre-existing conditions such as asthma.
5. Reduced ability to exercise resulting in poor athletic performance.
Health Effects of Nuclear Power Plant
Although some people label nuclear power plants as pollutant-free and safe power plants, there is no guarantee that malfunction will not occur in the future. If nuclear power plants accident happens, the effects are highly irreversible. The waste from nuclear energy is extremely dangerous and it has to be carefully looked after for several thousand years. Therefore, we conclude nuclear power plant as too risky and dangerous for human’s life.
Much of what is known about cancer caused by radiation exposures from nuclear power plant accidents comes from research on the April 1986 nuclear power plant disaster at Chernobyl, in what is now Ukraine. Approximately 600 workers at the power plant during the emergency received very high doses of radiation and suffered from radiation sickness. All of those who received high radiation became very sick right away and subsequently died.
The principal risks associated with nuclear power arise from health effects of radiation. This radiation consists of subatomic particles traveling at or near the velocity of light---186,000 miles per second. They can penetrate deep inside the human body where they can damage biological cells and thereby initiate a cancer. If they strike sex cells, they can cause genetic diseases in progeny that is highly irreversible and will pass on to the next generation.
These materials can come into contact with people principally through small releases during routine plant operation, accidents in nuclear power plants, accidents in transporting radioactive materials, and escape of radioactive wastes from confinement systems.
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2. "Coal's assault on Human Health." Physicians For Social Responsibility. <http://www.psr.org/assets/pdfs/psr-coal-fullreport.pdf>
3. "Nuclear Power Plants Pro and Cons." <http://timeforchange.org/pros-and-cons-of-nuclear-power-and-sustainability>
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2. "Image: Nuclear Power Plant." <http://images.wikia.com/simpsons/images/9/90/Snpp-1-.gif>