Coal is one of the dirtiest and most dangerous fuels in existence. From coal dust in our lungs to climate-busting emissions and air pollution, health professionals know that each stage of coal's extraction, transport, and combustion presents a danger to health and safety. Though Oregon and Washington have secured victories in phasing out the burning of coal for power in our region, coal exports remain a looming threat to the health of our communities, our environment, and our climate.
Extreme weather, intense wildfire seasons, and massive storms fueled by warming oceans are clear signs that global climate chaos is upon us. It can be difficult to maintain hope in these dark times. But a recent victory, the denial of a key permit for the largest coal export facility in the nation, renewed our hope.
Continue reading about our opposition to specific coal export proposals throughout the Pacific Northwest and the health effects associated with coal exports.
Health Effects of Coal Exports
Coal dust is associated with:
- chronic bronchitis;
- pulmonary fibrosis (pneumoconiosis);
- environmental contamination through the leaching of toxic heavy metals.
Diesel particulate matter is associated with:
- impaired pulmonary development in adolescents;
- increased cardiopulmonary mortality and all-cause mortality;
- measurable pulmonary inflammation;
- increased severity and frequency of asthma attacks, ER visits, and hospital admissions in children;
- increased rates of myocardial infarction (heart attack) in adults;
- increased risk of cancer;
- neurodevelopmental disorders.
Noise exposure is associated with:
- cardiovascular disease, including increased blood pressure, arrhythmia;
- stroke, and ischemic heart disease;
- cognitive impairment in children;
- sleep disturbance and resultant fatigue, hypertension, arrhythmia, and increased rate of accidents and injuries;
- exacerbation of mental health disorders such as depression, stress and anxiety, and psychosis.
Frequent long trains at rail crossings will mean:
- delayed emergency medical service response times;
- increased accidents, traumatic injury and death.