Full Cost Accounting for the Life Cycle of Coal

Each stage in the life cycle of coal—extraction, transport, processing, and combustion—generates a waste stream and carries multiple hazards for health and the environment. This report from the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences estimates that the life cycle effects of coal and the waste stream generated are costing the U.S public a third to over one-half of a trillion dollars annually.

The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America’s Dirtiest Energy Source

Among all industrial sources of air pollution, none poses greater risks to human health and the environment than coal fired power plants. Emissions from coal power plants contribute to global warming, ozone smog, haze and perhaps most consequential of all from a public health standpoint, fine particle pollution. This study by the Clean Air Task Force outlines the burden of death and disease from coal based electricity production across the United States.

Coal’s Assault on Human Health

This report from Physicians for Social Responsibility outlines the human health impacts of coal, with a focus on the United States. Each step of the coal lifestyle - mining, transportation, washing, combustion and disposing of post combustion waste - impacts human health. Coal pollutants affect all major body organ systems and contribute to four of the five leading causes of mortality in the United States.