We've updated our Privacy Policy to make it clearer how we use your personal data.

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. You can read our Cookie Policy here.

Advertisement
Power Plant Pollutant Exposure Varies According to Demographics
News

Power Plant Pollutant Exposure Varies According to Demographics

Power Plant Pollutant Exposure Varies According to Demographics
News

Power Plant Pollutant Exposure Varies According to Demographics

Credit: Pixabay.
Read time:
 

Want a FREE PDF version of This News Story?

Complete the form below and we will email you a PDF version of "Power Plant Pollutant Exposure Varies According to Demographics"

First Name*
Last Name*
Email Address*
Country*
Company Type*
Job Function*
Would you like to receive further email communication from Technology Networks?

Technology Networks Ltd. needs the contact information you provide to us to contact you about our products and services. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For information on how to unsubscribe, as well as our privacy practices and commitment to protecting your privacy, check out our Privacy Policy

Many people take electricity for granted — the power to turn on light with the flip of a switch, or keep food from spoiling with refrigeration. But generating electricity from fossil fuels exacts a toll on health and the environment. Scientists estimate that these power plant emissions cause tens of thousands of premature deaths in the U.S. each year. Now, researchers report in ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology that pollutant exposure varies with certain demographic factors.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, fine particulate matter — also known as PM2.5 — is the largest environmental health risk in the U.S. Scientists have linked these air pollutants to increased death rates from cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer. Power plants, particularly coal-fired ones, emit PM2.5 directly, as well as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides that can react with ammonia in the atmosphere to form additional PM2.5. Julian Marshall and colleagues wondered if certain demographic groups showed disparities in exposure to the harmful air pollutants.


To find out, the researchers used an air quality model to predict PM2.5 concentrations in different geographical areas across the U.S in 2014. They correlated the air quality data with location-specific information on race, income and mortality. The team estimated that in 2014, about 16,700 people in the U.S. died prematurely because of power plant emissions. At the national level, African Americans had the highest mortality rates from power-plant PM2.5 (6.6 deaths per 100,000 people), followed by white non-Latinos (5.9 deaths per 100,000 people), with lower rates for Asian Americans, Native Americans and Latinos. However, exposures for each racial/ethnic group varied by state. Estimated mortality rates from PM2.5 were higher for lower-income than higher-income households, but the differences by race were larger than those by income. Because wind can carry PM2.5 long distances from the source, health risks in many states could be attributed to out-of-state emissions. The researchers say that they hope these findings will help communities, scientists and policymakers better understand and address air pollution exposures and their disparities.

Reference
Fine Particulate Air Pollution from Electricity Generation in the US: Health Impacts by Race, Income, and Geography. Maninder P. S. Thind, Christopher W. Tessum, Inês L. Azevedo, Julian D. Marshall. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2019, https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.9b02527.

This article has been republished from the following materials. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

Advertisement