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Actions he has taken since his tenure began, including regulatory rollbacks and delays, and cuts to the EPA’s staffing and budget, put many protective standards in jeopardy.Of coal’s many environmental impacts, none are as harmful, long term, and irreversible as global warming.occur, many of which carry toxic airborne pollutants and heavy metals into the environment.This air pollution includes: Mercury: Coal plants are responsible for 42 percent of US mercury emissions, a toxic heavy metal that can damage the nervous, digestive, and immune systems, and is a serious threat to the child development.Just 1/70th of a teaspoon of mercury deposited on a 25-acre lake can make the fish unsafe to eat.
Particulate matter: Better known as “soot,” this is the ashy grey substance in coal smoke, and is linked with chronic bronchitis, aggravated asthma, cardiovascular effects like heart attacks, and premature death.
Under the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and other environmental laws, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the responsibility and authority to set and enforce emissions limits for pollutants deemed harmful to human health and the environment.
However, the head of the EPA under President Trump—Scott Pruitt—built his career suing the EPA to withdraw pollution protections.
Sulfur dioxide (SO2): Produced when the sulfur in coal reacts with oxygen, SO combines with other molecules in the atmosphere to form small, acidic particulates that can penetrate human lungs.
It’s linked with asthma, bronchitis, smog, and acid rain, which damages crops and other ecosystems, and acidifies lakes and streams.