Power plants discharge huge amounts of pollutants into waterways every year,
contributing to the contamination of of rivers and water bodies. A new report
details the damage caused by the wastewater and the need for strong regulations
to protect public health.
The report, "Selling Our Health Down the River, presents evidence that the
U.S.-American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been underestimating
the public health benefits of controlling metals including arsenic and
hexavalent chromium (which can increase the risk of cancer), as well as lead
and mercury (which can cause brain damage) released by power plants into
rivers, streams, and lakes.
The current U.S.-American wastewater pollution guidelines for power plants have
not been updated since 1982 and do not restrict discharges of heavy metals,
despite the fact that the electric power industry is responsible for the
majority of toxic water pollution from industrial sources.
The benefits to public health, downstream communities, and the economy justify
the largest possible reduction of toxic discharges. Unfortunately EPA's
analysis only estimated the economic value of three specific human health
benefits. EPA disregarded the positive impact of, among other things, safer
drinking water and fish that are safer to eat in waterways downstream from
power plants. When the full range of benefits is taken into account, the
strongest possible regulations are justified.
AplusA-online.de - Source: Environmental Protection