Campaign:
Coal Ash
Graphic of coal ash pond.
Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies.
Key Resources:
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Health Impacts of Coal Ash Contaminants

Health Impacts of Coal Toxicants
Mercury
Chromium
Selenium
Lead
Arsenic
Boron

Using Coal Ash Man

Mouseover the various toxicants (above) to reveal quick facts.

Lead

Known Risks

Exposure to lead can result in brain swelling, kidney disease, cardiovascular problems, nervous system damage, and even death. It is accepted that there is no safe level of lead exposure, particularly for children.

Organs affected

Brain, Spine, Lungs, Heart, Kidneys, and Intestines.

Mid-Pacific

Quick facts:

Office Information:

223 South King Street, Suite 400
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 599-2436

Mercury

Known Risks

Mercury poses particular risk to children infants, and fetuses. Impacts include nervous system damage and developmental defects like reduced IQ and mental retardation.

Organs affected

Brain and Spine.

Arsenic

Known Risks

Ingestion of arsenic can lead to nervous system damage, cardiovascular issues, and urinary tract cancers. Inhalation and absorption through the skin can result in lung cancer and skin cancer, respectively.

Organs affected

Lungs, Heart, and Spine.

Chromium

Known Risks

Ingestion of chromium can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers, anemia, and stomach cancer. Frequent inhalation can cause asthma, wheezing, and lung cancer.

Organs affected

Lungs, Stomach, and Intestines.

Florida

Quick facts:

Office Information:

111 South Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Tallahassee, FL 32301
(850) 681-0031

International

Quick facts:

Office Information:

426 17th St, 7th Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 550-6700

Boron

Known Risks

Inhalation of boron can lead over the short-term to eye, nose, and throat irritation. Ingestion of large amounts, however, can result in damage to the testes, intestines, liver, kidneys, and brain, and eventually lead to death.

Organs affected

Kidneys and Intestines.

Selenium

Known Risks

Selenium is used in many bodily functions, but deficiencies or excesses can be bad for one's health. Excess intake of selenium can result in a host of neurological effects, including imparied vision and paralysis, and even death.

Organs affected

Spine.

More Resources On Coal Ash:

On Our Blog: Tr-Ash Talk. unEARTHED: Tr-Ash Talk

Read the latest on coal ash in the headlines and in the halls of Congress, through our blog series "Tr-Ash Talk."

Photo of Lisa Evans. Photo of Lisa Evans.

The weekly blog posts are brought to you by Earthjustice's Lisa Evans, Raviya Ismail, and guest bloggers.

Read Blog Posts.

An Ill Wind Blows An Ill Wind Blows

The Moapa River Indian Reservation, tribal home of the Moapa Band of Paiutes, sits about 30 miles north of Las Vegas. If the conditions are just wrong, coal ash picks up from Reid Gardner and moves across the desert like a toxic sandstorm. The film An Ill Wind tells the Paiute Indians' story.

Explore Video Feature.

Report. Coal Ash: The Toxic Threat To Our Health and Environment

A ground-breaking study by Earthjustice and Physicians for Social Responsibility found that the water and air in 34 states are being poisoned by coal ash—creating major health risks for both children and adults.

Read Report.

Interactive Map. Coal Ash: State By State

Across the U.S., there are more than 500 coal ash dump sites. Explore an interactive map with detailed analysis on these sites and the risks associated with them.

Explore Map.