Health Risks associated with coal ash
After coal is burned to produce electricity, there is a large amount of ash by-product let over. This ash, or coal combustion waste, contains silicates, calcium, and heavy metals. Though those in the coal industry claim that this substance is inert, this is impossible to determine without individual testing. . Since this by-product is not considered toxic, monitoring of disposal sites is minimal. Perhaps because of these loose monitoring standards there have been several instances of pollution of drinking water due to coal ash. The toxic components of focal ash can cause a wide array of health problems, including increased risk of cancer and reduced cognition and focus. These dangers combined with poorly maintained disposal impoundments pose a great threat to the environment and to communities in proximity.
For even more information on this and other health issues, please see the Health Impact Assessment of Coal and Clean Energy Options in Kentucky.