Even though “multiple monitoring systems across the Commonwealth continue to show no levels of public health concern,” the Virginia Department of Health is warning residents to avoid drinking rainwater collected in cisterns.
You have to wonder: If insignificant health risks posed by a distant nuclear disaster are worth a health update, why isn’t VDOH giving constant updates on the known devastating effects of coal?
Mercury contamination is so widespread that one out of every six pregnant women have mercury levels in their blood high enough for levels in the fetus to reach or surpass the EPA’s safety threshold for mercury.
According to the latest government data, this means that 630,000 children are born each year with a strong chance of developing serious mercury-related health effects.
According to the American Lung Association, 24,000 people a year die prematurely because of pollution from coal-fired power plants. And every year 38,000 heart attacks, 12,000 hospital admissions and an additional 550,000 asthma attacks result from power plant pollution.
Now that’s truly terrifying. Dozens, hundreds, even thousands of people may be killed in rare nuclear disasters (to say nothing of the risks posed by uranium mining). But coal kills tens of thousands of people every year by design.
Unfortunately, the risks we’ve known & lived with for years aren’t nearly as good at scaring up ratings as the new & unknown ones. Isn’t that right, Nancy Grace?