"Coal Plants Might Be Even More Toxic Than We Thought"

"An environmental disaster in North Carolina reveals that a rare, potentially dangerous compound is abundant in burned coal."

"Scientists studying the aftermath of a massive coal-ash spill in North Carolina have discovered a byproduct of the fossil fuel that may pose human health risks.

Duke Energy Corp. announced in early February 2014 that drainage from a broken pipe was leaking coal-ash into the Dan River, which runs through Virginia and North Carolina. Within a few days, researchers at Virginia Tech realized the spill created an unusual opportunity to better understand how particles just billionths of a meter wide, notably arsenic, embedded themselves in an ecosystem. They published that work in 2015.

Then came the surprise.

Electron-microscope analysis of sediment samples revealed a strange-looking substance, streaked in a pattern that called to mind zebras, according to Michael Hochella, a distinguished professor at Virginia Tech concentrating in nanogeoscience."

Eric Roston reports for Bloomberg August 8, 2017.

Source: Bloomberg, 08/09/2017