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Physicians for Social Responsibility Report Details Coal's Health Impacts

A report by Physicians for Social Responsibility, a non-profit advocacy group, outlines the effects of coal on human health and discusses the economic impacts of these effects.

'Few are aware of the fact that tens of thousands of Americans die each year as a result of inhaling the pollutants that are released as a result of the combustion of coal,' said Dr. Alan Lockwood, a lead author of the report.

Burning coal creates $62 billion in negative side effect costs, Lockwood said, quoting a Oct. 2009 report by the National Academy of Sciences. That report estimated that each kilowatt hour of electricity carries 3.2 cents of hidden costs, such as higher medical bills.

The American Coal Council, when asked for a response, pointed to others studies concerning the role abundant electricity plays in preventing premature deaths. A Council spokesman cited a Center for Energy and Economic Development study and a Johns Hopkins study.

Below are the opening remarks of the release of the report.

Peter Wilk, MD, Executive Director of PSR, introduces the report.

Alan Lockwood, MD, lead author of PSR report, gives an overview.

Kristen Welker-Hood, director of the Environment and Health Program for PSR, addresses regulation of coal.

Katherine Shea, a pediatrician, speaks to the challenges of climate change.

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