Study: When coal plants decrease pollution or shut down, people have fewer asthma attacks

Environmental Health News discusses when coal plants decrease pollution or shut down, people have fewer asthma attacks. Inhaler use, ER visits and hospitalizations all decreased after a change in regulations.

Asthma attacks decreased significantly among residents near coal-fired power plants after the plants shut down or upgraded their emission controls, according to a new study.

Coal-fired power plants emit air pollution that includes mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter. Living near coal-fired power plants is linked to higher rates of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, and cancer, and premature death.

According to a study published this week in the journal Nature Energy, when those plants shut down or upgrade their emissions controls, rescue inhaler use, emergency room visits and hospitalizations for asthma all decrease among nearby residents. The study is the first to show decreased inhaler use following a reduction in pollution from coal plants, and builds on previous evidence that living near these facilities leads to increased asthma exacerbations.

 

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