Warning Labels for Coal Power Plants

Illustration by Tom Toles.

Warning Labels for Coal

He forgot serious illness such as cancer, birth defects

…huge rates of coal consumption were a factor behind an increase in cancer and birth defects as well as non-specific and chronic nervous, immune and respiratory illnesses.

Coal-fired power plants contribute three quarters of China’s total electricity needs, but also around 70 percent of energy sector air pollution.

The government has been studying how to reduce its toxic effects, but “clean coal” remains a misnomer, said the group’s China campaign manager, Yang Ailun.

“There are many coal power plants saying they are now ‘clean’ but there are a lot of misunderstandings — coal creates pollution and clean coal is impossible,” she said.

Studies of the effect of coal used in homes have a similar warning:

[Kirk Smith, a professor of global environmental health at the University of California, Berkeley] said the results of the study do provide further evidence that coal causes significant health problems and should be replaced by other fuel sources. “Coal can’t be burned cleanly…it should be banned from all household use,” he told Reuters Health.

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