Published on December 9th, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer21
Exposure to Coal Lowers IQ in Newborns
When my friends across the border are astonished at the sheer stupidity that dominates American politics and national discourse – and exclaim “Is there something in the water over there?” they might be on to something. It turns out, there actually is something in the water over here affecting us. And in the air. It’s coal.
Physicians for Social Responsibility released a groundbreaking medical report, Coal’s Assault on Human Health (pdf), which takes a new look at the devastating impacts of coal on the national health.
Researchers estimate that every year another half million children are born in the U.S. with blood mercury levels high enough to reduce IQ scores and cause lifelong loss of intelligence.
Coal pollutants act on the nervous system to cause loss of intellectual capacity, primarily through mercury. This is costly to society. The report estimates that this costs the nation up to $43.8 billion annually in remedial education and lost lifetime income.
“The findings of this report are clear: while the U.S. relies heavily on coal for its energy needs, the consequences of that reliance for our health are grave,” says one of the principal report’s principal authors; Dr. Alan H. Lockwood, a professor of neurology at the University at Buffalo.
Not only does coal make our health a drain on our own nation’s economy, but it also isn’t helping us be as smart as we need to be to help the rest of the world take on the huge global challenges of even surviving the next few centuries; due to catastrophic climate change.
It also increases the incidence of major diseases. Coal contributes to four of the top five causes of mortality in the U.S. and our most costly chronic illnesses: our asthma, our diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimers, and stroke.
So when we Americans continue to vote for politicians who reduce our educational funding and vote for politicians who filibuster globally accepted climate change legislation – – and we even mount protests against getting non-profit health care that is in our own best interest – – don’t blame us.
It’s not us, it’s the coal we’ve been breathing. We are fossil fools.