Coal fired power plants have been an environmental issue for some time, but the greater problems are the health concerns around power plants. There are a number of toxins that they emit into the air and water that can cause major health problems for the people who live around them. The also effect plant and animal life.
Many people believe that the mercury levels in the lakes that cool coal fired plants are way too high, and it is often recommended that fishermen not eat what they catch in these lakes. The mercury also contaminates rain, so it is virtually impossible for those who live near a coal fired power plant to escape the health concerns they produce. Along with the dangerous heavy metal, the fly ash that the coal produces is a terrible lung irritant. Most power plants do regular lung check ups on their employees to try to prevent lung disease caused by the poisonous air.
Many of the workers say that this a reason to fire an unhealthy worker. The power plants don’t want to be saddled with the medical bills from a worker who is proven to be ill due to the dirty air coal plants produce. Even though the health concerns are great, it’s hard to resist a good job at a power plant. For many people who live around them, they offer the best pay and benefits. On the other hand, the way they effect the quality of life is devastating. Even farmers claim that crops are affected by the air contamination. They believe the carbon dioxide that causes acid rain is the culprit.
Along with carbon dioxide, there are health concerns due to emissions of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, which is also known as smog. There are a many cleaner technologies for producing electricity, but coal is cheap and the industry is fairly deregulated, so public health will continue to be at risk.