Every year, coal-fired power plants generate about 130 million tons of coal ash—leftover sludge containing arsenic, mercury, and lead. The industry recycles around 55 million tons of the stuff annually, sticking it into a variety of products, from cement to cosmetics. No wonder it wasn’t too happy about an EPA proposal to classify coal ash as hazardous waste. Here’s where you can find recycled coal ash, in order of increasing creepiness.
For every person killed by nuclear power generation, 4,000 die due to coal, adjusted for the same amount of power produced… You might very well have excellent reasons to argue for one form over another. Not the point of this post. The question is: did you know about this chart? How does it resonate with you?
Vivid is not the same as true. It’s far easier to amplify sudden and horrible outcomes than it is to talk about the slow, grinding reality of day to day strife. That’s just human nature. Not included in this chart are deaths due to global political instability involving oil fields, deaths from coastal flooding and deaths due to environmental impacts yet unmeasured, all of which skew it even more if you think about it.
— Janice Nolen of the National Lung Association, to MoJo's Kate Sheppard, on the House GOP’s campaign to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulation coal-fired power plants. Read the full story here.