Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 6:00 AM
A physician and advocate for cleaner air is in Cleveland today to talk to students about the adverse health effects of coal burning power plants.
ideastream health reporter Anne Glausser has more.
Nearly half of all the energy used to generate electricity in the US comes from burning coal, and Ohio is one of the top coal-burning states. So it’s fitting that Dr. Alan Lockwood would come to the state to talk up his new book, called The Silent Epidemic: Coal and the Hidden Threat to Health.
LOCKWOOD: Ohio has some of the worse coal-related pollution of any state in the country.
Lockwood is a neurologist at the State University of New York at Buffalo. His book, published by MIT Press, details a host of respiratory and cardiovascular ailments associated with coal emissions, such as asthma, lung cancer, heart attacks, and stroke.
Lockwood likens coal health issues to cigarettes and smoking:
LOCKWOOD: Back in the forties or so, we physicians used to advertise cigarettes and they were given away free to members of the armed forces.
Then, he says, the Surgeon General’s report came out linking cigarettes to lung cancer and now they’re considered an enormous public health threat.
LOCKWOOD: We’re sort of like we were with cigarettes back in the 50s—just beginning to understand and see the tip of this iceberg that’s looming in front of us.
Today, Dr. Lockwood will speak to students at Case Western Reserve University. His talk is open to the public.