America’s Dirty Secret: Coal Ash

(Earth Focus: Episode 64) People in three adjacent Pennsylvania communities suffer from a rare blood cancer. In Juliette, Georgia, where radioactive water flows from the tap, people are also getting sick. What else do these communities have in common? Coal ash. Some 130 million tons of it is generated in the US each year. It contains toxins like lead, arsenic and mercury and it gets into ground water from unlined pond and pit storage sites. The government says it’s non-hazardous. Regulation is left to state governments where the coal industry has great influence. It’s always people who suffer the consequences. 

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