How dangerous is air pollution from coal-fired plants?

Pollution levels are now at a record high, which is having a huge impact on people’s health. However, a new study has found that scientists may have been underestimating how dangerous air pollution from coal-fired plants could be and has called for tighter regulations. 

The study was recently published in the journal “Science” and found that the risks from coal-fired plants could be twice as harmful as particle pollution from other sources. 

Particle pollution can be caused by many things, including cars, agriculture, wildfires, and both coal and natural gas-fired power plants. It can lead to respiratory problems as well as other health issues. 

The study found that between 1999 and 2020, there were 460,000 recorded deaths associated with coal-fired plants. Additionally, in eastern parts of the US with more coal-related pollution and a higher population density, the impact on mortality rates was much higher. 

Furthermore, the researchers found that most of the deaths related to coal pollution were between 1999 and 2007 and the number decreased rapidly by 2020 as the regulations became stricter over time. There were 1,600 deaths in 2020. 

Study co-author Dr. Francesca Dominici, a professor of biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said that previous studies underestimated how harmful pollution from coal plants might be. 

She added: “We need to move away from coal pollution. There is really no reason to have it. The fact that coal pollution is so much more awful at creating fine particulate matter than other sources is something that should be understood and acted on all around the world, not just in the US.”

Although the use of coal is less common in the US now, it’s still being used globally and the study says that this is predicted to increase in the coming years, potentially leading to more deaths. They have called for stronger measures to limit this so that people’s health isn’t jeopardized. 

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