A type of coal ash, fly ash is the residue generated from burning coal. In general, coal ash is found inside coal-fueled power plant chimneys. The other type of coal ash, known as bottom ash, collects at the bottom of furnaces. Depending on the makeup of the coal being burned, fly ash may contain:
While fly ash was formerly released into the atmosphere, in 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) imposed stricter regulations regarding the disposal of fly ash, mandating that it be captured and either recycled or properly disposed of (i.e. stored at a power plant or secured in a landfill). More than 40 percent of fly ash is recycled, and much of this is used to strengthen cement and concrete. Interestingly, the first time fly ash concrete was used was in 1929 in the construction of the Hoover Dam.
Health Problems Associated with Fly Ash Exposure
Currently, fly ash is not classified as a hazardous substance. Despite the fact that the EPA was moving towards classifying fly ash as a hazard in 2000, pressure from the utility companies, as well as the coal industry and the Clinton administration, deterred the EPA from following through with this reclassification.
It is important to note that, given the fact that fly ash contains a number of heavy metals, exposure to it is known to cause a number of serious, irreversible health problems, including lung damage and a number of different types of cancer. In fact, an EPA report states that exposure to fly ash can increase the risk of developing life-threatening malignancies by several hundredfold.
The primary ways in which people are exposed to and harmed by fly ash is by drinking contaminated water, inhaling fine particle dust and/or having skin contact with fly ash.
Following Exposure to Fly Ash
If you or a loved one has been exposed to fly ash, it’s crucial that you seek immediate medical attention for a thorough physical exam. After receiving necessary emergency treatments, it’s then essential that you speak with a seasoned personal injury attorney at Gacovino, Lake and Associates to:
Learn more about your legal rights
Find out if you have a case and are entitled to a settlement
Receive expert advice regarding how to resolve your claim
Secure professional representation for all future legal proceedings
Our highly qualified lawyers are dedicated to helping you recover the compensation you are entitled to. We will discuss the unique circumstances of your case in detail to determine how we can help. All initial consultations are free of charge. For more information, please contact us today.