Select the search type
  • Site
  • Web
Search

Blog

Published on Friday, April 14, 2017

Coal-Fired Power May Be Responsible for Low Birth Weights

[NOT GOOD]

Coal-Fired Power May Be Responsible for Low Birth Weights

A new study revealed that lower birth weights in the Tennessee Valley have been linked to the switch from nuclear to coal-fired power plants in the area. The study looked at the impact of the closures of multiple nuclear power plants and the damaging effects of relying on coal.


The Details On the Low Birth Weights

The study investigating the low birth weights, conducted by Edson Severnini of Carnegie Mellon University, looked at many factors affecting the child including county born, mother’s age, mother’s education level and health. Across all factors, it was revealed that birth weight in counties near coal-fired plants declined by 5.4% in the year and a half following the nuclear plant shutdowns. This impact on low birth weights was felt the strongest in areas that saw the most coal-fired power plant activity.


Researchers surmise that birth weights are being affected by the coal-fired power plants due to air pollution in the area. Air pollution is a significant factor that affects the health of both pregnant women and their unborn babies. The air pollution from the coal-fired power plants was also responsible for premature births in addition to the low birth weights. Low birth weights have been connected to lower incomes, shorter heights, and lower IQ scores.


Other Studies
A similar study conducted by Jonathan Griggs, professor of paediatric respiratory and environmental medicine at Queen Mary University of London, looked at the effects of air pollution and traffic on birth weights. The study in the United States found similar results with Griggs’ study in the UK. Griggs also warns that this current study could become more important as Trump and his administration look to expand the coal industry. Griggs explained that while further research is needed on the complete impact of air pollution on unborn children, there is a serious concern.


“If you have reduced organ development, both brain and other organs, our concern is that it has a disproportionate effect over the whole lifespan,” he said. “What we want as clinicians, we want to maximise fetal development and anything that suppresses fetal development in any way is of concern.”


Why Were the Nuclear Power Plants Closed?

After the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 in Pennsylvania, the most serious nuclear leak in US history, many nuclear power plants around the country were shut down. After the partial meltdown in Three Mile Island, policymakers believed it would be in the best interest of public health to scrutinize and close other nuclear power plants. However, those same policymakers gave little thought to the negative impacts of going from nuclear to coal-fired power.


What’s Wrong with Coal-Fired Power Plants?

Severnini and colleagues looked at two two nuclear power plants in the Tennessee Valley area that were closed after the Three Mile Island accident: Browns Ferry and Sequoyah.  Both were shut down in 1985 and remained closed for a few years. The loss of nuclear power in the area was almost entirely replaced by coal-fired power plants.


With coal-fired power plants, particle pollution in the air drastically increases. Around one coal-fired power plant, the Paradise plant, the concentration of particulates increased by 27% in the year and a half after the nuclear power plant shutdown. The results from this study were in line with studies done in Japan and Germany following their shift from nuclear to coal power.


What’s the Alternative?

So, if nuclear is dangerous but so is coal, what’s the best way to move forward? What source of energy protects public health including the health of unborn babies? Marie Pederson from the Center of Epidemiology and Screening at the University of Copenhagen explains the right alternative. “I think we have enough evidence to say we should not shift to coal-burning power plants, and really it could be good to push for more clean energy sources, not only for birth weight but for many other outcomes also.” Marie continued to point out that air pollution also contributes to other health problems in pregnant women and respiratory diseases. Clearly coal power, a favorite of the Trump administration, is not the way forward.


 

Rate this article:
No rating
Comments ()Number of views (674)

Author: AThompson

Categories: Blogs, Companies, Baby, Energy & Power, Technology

Tags:

Print

Search Jobs

Calender

«January 2018»
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
25
1779

Climate Change & The Poor: A Toxic Relationship

The impacts of climate change are undoubtedly affecting the world on a global scale. However, its effects are far more pronounced among the poor.

Read more
26
1780

Pre-Historic Ticks

Ticks are some of the most aggravating parasites today but they've been around for millions of years - even long enough to feed on the blood of dinosaurs.

Read more
27
1781

'The Cove' Nine Years Later

You may remember the uproar surrounding The Cove almost a decade ago. Today, the fishing community at the heart of the film has finally spoken up. 

Read more
28
1782

Saving A Life

Watch this amazing footage of the rescue of a drowned puppy and the ingenuity, persistence, and passion of the man who saved it.

Read more
29
1783

Winter Enviro-friendly Tips

This is the time of year for family, food, and holiday cheer. But it's also the season that produces the most waste. Here's how to get green over the holidays.

Read more
30
1784

A Mesmerizing Flock

Have a look at this visually hypnotizing footage of one of nature's most arresting phenomenons - the flight of the flock of starlings. A gorgeous sight to behold!

Read more
31
1785

The Controversy of Fracking

Fracking is in fact dangerous. Recent study proves that infants in areas surrounding fracking sites may suffer from permanent health effects and growth problems.

Read more
1
1786

An Unobstructed Look Inside The Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA has long stood as one of the most powerful defenders of the health and safety of the environment and safety standards. A lot has changed. 

Read more
2
1787

Master of Deception

Few living species can match the powers of deception and stealth quite like the amazing Zodrian spider - known for wearing the carcasses of their victims.

Read more
3
1788

The Digital Impact: Bitcoin's Carbon Footprint

Bitcoin is becoming one of the most quickly growing cryptocurrencies today. But this new form of payment is more costly for the environment than you may think. 

Read more
4
1789

Animals That Fit On Your Finger

There are few things as adorable and heartwarming as pint-sized pets. Here are just some of the most popular ones available today.

Read more
5
1790

Amazing Fungus Breaks Down Plastic Within a Few Weeks

No doubt about it, plastics are amazing. But they're also particularly bad for the environment as they're tough to break down. A new study has a solution - fungus. 

Read more
67
1791

Curious Bear Finds The Camera

Getting that perfect wildlife shot can be tough. That's why the BBC Earth team developed innovative spy cameras to catch each amazing moment, like the skiing cam. 

Read more
8
1792

Baby Sea Turtle Treadmills

Light pollution has become a serious problem of modern living. And for turtles, it's even worse. That's why scientists devised this unique and adorable experiment. 

Read more
9
1793

Consider This Before Your Next Virtual Shopping Trip

Online shopping has long been held in high regard as the more eco-friendly way to purchase. But e-commerce may actually be worse for our environment than you think.

Read more
10
1794

Traffic Stopped by Silverback Gorillas

Silverback gorillas are amazing and beautiful creatures to be sure. Watch as a troop is filmed literally stopping traffic crossing a crowded road. 

Read more
11
1795

China's Ivory Trade Ban: What It Means Going Forward

Elephant numbers have long been on the decline due to poaching for their tusks. But China's new ivory trade ban aims to curb that trend and protect these animals.

Read more
12
1796

Hungry Deer Meets Delicious Snowman

Tis the season for snowmen to start popping up on front lawns. But don't leave carrots out for too long or you might get a hungry wildlife visitor.

Read more
1314
1797

The Future of Power: Solar Windows

While solar technology is advancing at a breakneck pace, one innovation in the industry is set to change the way we collect power forever - solar windows. 

Read more
15
1798

Literally Swimming in Drugs

It's a tragedy that animals are trapped in our trash. But it's astounding that one turtle in particular was found wrapped up in over $53 million worth of cocaine.

Read more
16
1799

Whose Responsible for Your Dirty Water?

Clean drinking water is supposed to be a right of every citizen in the nation. However, this right is often violated - and it isn't getting any better.

Read more
17
1800

Global Warming & Cold Spells: What's the Connection?

When faced with bitter-cold weather, some people tend to think global warming isn't real. But in fact, global warming just may be the culprit behind dropping temps.

Read more
18
1801

Spiders: Ancient & Amazing

Spiders have been producing silk for literally hundreds of millions of years. Take a look at just why these creatures and the silk they produce are so amazing. 

Read more
19
1802

The Threat of Ocean Deoxygenation

We often hear of the widespread effects of pollution on the ocean and the life it holds. But there's another threat beneath the surface - ocean deoxygenation.

Read more
2021
22232425262728
2930311234

Category

    Help Us Go Green
      
    Help Us Go Green