Particle-forming sulfur dioxide is the most damaging pollutant from coal-fired power plants, concludes study

A new study carried out by researchers from Rice University has determined that the most damaging pollutant from the coal-fired power plants in Texas is particle-forming sulfur dioxide. After analyzing the effects of emissions from more than a dozen of the state’s coal plants, they discovered that those living downwind of such plants would be better off now if the state had focused on reducing these emissions along with those that cause ozone.

Environmental engineer Daniel Cohan, who led the study, pointed out that there are more unscrubbed coal plants in Texas than anywhere else in the country, and they’re causing air pollution that has a serious impact on people’s health.

He stated: “What I found eye-opening in this study is that most of the health damage is coming from particulate matter, but most of Texas’ focus on air pollution has been on ozone smog. It’s a real dichotomy where the standard we violate is ground-level ozone, but the biggest cause of damage is particulate matter.”

According to the researchers, EPA statistics show that the power plants in Texas emit double the amounts of sulfur dioxide as second-placed Missouri. Even when the particulate levels meet standards, however, they are still a hazard to people’s health – especially those living downwind of the plants.

Cohan said that the higher that particulate matter levels reach, the greater number of deaths there are in both the short and longer term. Life expectancies calculated by epidemiologists are greater in places with low levels of particulate matter compared to those with higher levels. He also pointed out that the damage extends far beyond causing respiratory diseases; the particulate matter has also been linked to strokes and heart attacks.

Why this matters to everyone on the planet

If you think this isn’t anything you need to worry about because you live nowhere near such a plant, think again. The very same particulate matter that the researchers are expressing so much concern over is precisely what some climate change scientists want to inject into the Earth’s atmosphere in an attempt to cause “global dimming.”

Some are espousing the idea of intentionally blocking the sunusing chemical aerosols, which they say will stop “global warming” from taking place – never mind the fact that natural sunlight is needed for life-sustaining processes like photosynthesis and the creation of vitamin D. If these aerosols are floating in the atmosphere, they will reflect sunlight back before it gets to the planet’s surface and cool it, the theory goes, not unlike what happens after volcanic eruptions.

In addition to pumping the atmosphere with these toxic chemicals, some researchers have raised alarm bells that if the practice is suddenly stopped once it is underway, it could cause a dangerous global temperature shift. Some models have shown that using stratospheric aerosol injection on North Atlantic storms could increase the chances of drought in parts of the Sahara; doing this above the southern half of the planet would reduce drought but increase Atlantic tropical storm frequency, so it’s a losing proposition from every angle.

It’s hard to believe that anyone thinks shooting aerosol into the atmosphere could ever be a good idea, but society is growing increasingly accepting of interfering with Mother Nature, and the climate change alarmists have done a pretty good job of convincing some people that the situation is urgent and requires drastic action. And for as bad of an idea as it is under the best of circumstances, using the same chemicals that scientists say are shortening life expectancies is particularly risky – unless wiping out life on the planet is their actual goal.

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