What are the top 3 public health threats from energy production and consumption? The top 2 are breathing soot from burning coal and oil that kills 2 million per year around the world and eating fish contaminated with mercury as a result again of coal burning. One out of 6 American women have mercury levels that are unsafe and can affect fetal development.
Another major threat to human health from energy production gets virtually no attention today from media and others and that's Black Lung disease, a terrible illness that sickens and slowly suffocates many miners who breathe coal dust on the job.
Indeed, Black Lung disease is back, though it never went away, and the numbers are shocking.
Since 1968, Black Lung disease has shortened the lives of 76,000 miners just in the USA. That's right--76,000 on-the-job deaths attributable to Black Lung disease over the last 45 years. In the USA, no other source of energy--oil, gas, renewable energy, nuclear--comes close to the on-the-job illness and death suffered by miners of coal.
To make matters worse, Black Lung disease is increasing once again. It strikes between 2% and 3% of all miners and as many as 9% of miners in parts of Kentucky, where dust controls in mines have been awful in too many cases.
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