16 April 2013 — Air pollution from coal combustion was responsible for more than 200,000 deaths globally each year, and caused almost two million serious illnesses, and 151 million minor illnesses, a review has found.

Scientific evidence of health effects from coal use in energy generation was produced by environmental health experts at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

It revealed pollutants generated from coal combustion had profound effects on the health of local communities but could also travel long distances, affecting communities remote from power plants.

Lead author Dr Susan Buchanan, director of the University of Illinois Pediatric Environmental Health Unit said every step of the lifecycle of coal generated pollution that was harmful to human health.

“The bulk of the health burden is associated with pollutants from combustion for electricity,” she said.

Climate and Health Alliance Convenor Fiona Armstrong said the latest review provided further evidence of that coal-fired power must be phased out and tighter regulation of the industry was needed.

Download the report here.