Report | Environment America

America's Biggest Mercury Polluters: How Cleaning up the Dirtiest Power Plants will Protect Public Health

Power plants continue to release large amounts of toxic pollutants, including mercury, into our air. In 2010, two-thirds of all airborne mercury pollution in the United States came from the smokestacks of coal-fired power plants. In other words, power plants generate more airborne mercury pollution than all other industrial sources combined. Mercury is a potent neurotoxicant. Mercury exposure during critical periods of brain development can contribute to irreversible deficits in verbal skills, damage to attention and motor control, and reduced IQ. In 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed the first national standards limiting mercury and other toxic air pollution from existing coal- and oil-fired power plants. Implementing these standards will protect public health.

Report | Environment America

Danger in the Air: Unhealthy Air Days in 2010 and 2011

All Americans should be able to breathe clean air.  But pollution from power plants and vehicles puts the health of our nation’s children and families at risk.  Ground-level ozone, the main component of smog, is one of the most harmful and one of the most pervasive air pollutants.  According to the American Lung Association, nearly half of all Americans – 48 percent – still live in areas with unhealthy levels of smog pollution.  Studies show that on days with high concentrations of smog pollution in the air, children and adults suffer more asthma attacks, increased respiratory difficulty, and reduced lung function.  Exposure to smog pollution can exacerbate respiratory illness and even cause premature death.  Sensitive populations including children, the elderly, and people with respiratory illness are particularly at risk of the adverse health effects of air pollution. 

Report | Environment America

Dirty Energy's Assault on our Health: Ozone

Fine particle pollution from U.S. power plants cuts short the lives of nearly 24,000 people each year and causes hundreds of thousands of asthma attacks, cardiac episodes, and respiratory problems.