This report estimates the health burden of air pollution from individual coal-fired power stations in NSW. It is significant new research made possible by recent studies of particle characterisation and atmospheric transport of pollution. The effects of air pollution on human health have been studied and known about for many decades, and the list of health problems to which air pollution contributes continues to grow in tandem with research. This list now includes heart disease, stroke, asthma attacks, low birth weight of babies, lung cancer and type 2 diabetes. Research has also demonstrated that reducing air pollution, even if exposure levels are already low, leads to better health. The form of pollution that has the strongest effect on health is fine particles (PM2.5) and one of the major sources of PM2.5 in the Sydney Greater Metropolitan region is burning coal for electricity. There are five coal-fired power stations in NSW – Bayswater and Liddell in the Upper Hunter Valley, Eraring and Vales Point on the Central Coast, and Mount Piper near Lithgow. This study examines the health burden from premature death, the incidence of low birth weight for babies, and new cases of type 2 diabetes that are attributable to PM2.5 air pollution exposure from these power stations. Air pollution from the five NSW power stations is estimated to lead to 279 deaths or 2,614 ‘Years of Life Lost’ every year for people aged 30 to 99. Each year, this pollution also causes 233 babies to be born weighing less than 2,500 g and causes 361 people who would not otherwise develop type 2 diabetes to develop this disease.
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The Lithgow Environment Group seeks to preserve the balance of nature in its region. This is especially important given the impacts of the area's industrial heritage. The Lithgow region contains some of the most biodiverse bushland in the Greater Blue Mountains. Our aim is to promote and protect this rich natural heritage..
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