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January 15, 2009 [posted]

NLM® Resource — Information on Possible Human Health Effects of Fly (Coal) Ash

[Editor's Note: This is a reprint of an announcement published on NLM-Tox-Enviro-Health-L, an e-mail announcement list available from the NLM Division of Specialized Information Services. To subscribe to this list, please see the NLM-TOX-ENVIRO-HEALTH-L Join, Leave, or Change Options page.]

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O n December 22, 2008, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Kingston Fossil Plant's retention pond failed, creating a tidal wave of water and fly ash which destroyed several homes and ruptured a major gas line in a neighborhood located adjacent to the plant in Harriman, Tennessee. It is estimated that approximately 3.1 million cubic feet of fly ash and water were released onto land adjacent to the plant and into the nearby Clinch and Emory Rivers. There is now concern about the potential effects of this spill on the quality of water, air and soil in the region.

From its extensive environmental health and toxicology resources, the National Library of Medicine® (NLM) has compiled a Web page of links to chemical information on fly ash and medical journal articles on the ash's possible human health effects. These resources provide background information on fly ash, also known as coal ash, which is a by-product of burning coal in power plants to generate electricity. Links to public health information from local and federal authorities responding to this incident are also included.

Contact information for local community assistance is listed on the TVA Web site.

For more information on TOXNET® and other NLM environmental health and toxicology resources, please visit

NLM® Resource - Information on Possible Human Health Effects of Fly (Coal) Ash. NLM Tech Bull. 2009 Jan-Feb;(366):e3.

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