Coal Ash is an unregulated toxic waste

Coal ash is what remains after coal is burned, and has arsenic, mercury, lead, selenium, chromium, and other heavy metals.

This waste is 100 times more radioactive than nuclear waste from a nuclear power plant producing the same amount of energy from uranium and thorium, which get concentrated in coal ash at 10 times their original levels.

The USA produces 136 million tons of coal ash every year at over 1,300 coal-ash waste sites (100 million tons per year in Europe, and China probably generates a billion tons a year and about 2.5 billion tons of coal ash waste).

Most of it ends up in ponds, landfills, and abandoned mines with no safeguards since they’re barely regulated by states and not subject to federal hazardous waste regulations.  It can get into groundwater, and destroy land and homes if it is released.  At least 67 of them have damaged drinking water across 23 states.

You’re better off smoking a pack of cigaretees a day than liv near a coal ash storage pond (EPA). The toxins give you a 2000 times greater chance of cancer if you live within a mile of unlined coal ash ponds, neurological damage, respiratory illness, and developmental problems.

The toxins work their way up the food chain in plants and animals.

NRDC Coal Waste by State

References 

Hvistendahl, Mara. 13 Dec 2007. Coal Ash Is More Radioactive than Nuclear Waste. By burning away all the pesky carbon and other impurities, coal power plants produce heaps of radiation. Scientific American.

Seeking a Safer Future for Electricity’s Coal Ash Waste. National Geographic.

Clayton, Mark. 9 Jan 2009. Coal-ash waste poses risk across the nation. Hundreds of landfills and slurry ponds – like the one that failed in Tennessee – are dotted across the US, endangering communities and water supplies. The Christian Science Monitor

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