Coal and electricity use examined for health benefits

Julia Gohlke, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UAB Department of Environmental Health Sciences, says increased electricity use in countries with an infant mortality rate of less than one in 10 does not produce greater health benefits, but burning coal to create the electricity does have significant detrimental health impacts. In her findings, published in the Feb. 21, 2011, issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, she says more study is needed to examine the social and economic forces that drive the relationship between energy use and health.

“As we negotiate energy and climate policy, teasing apart the complex relationships between energy consumption and health will help us identify those policies that may be particularly health-promoting. This study is a starting point,” says Gohlke.

The article, “Estimating the Global Public Health Implications of Electricity and Coal Consumption,” can be found online here.