A new study proves that coal ash is not responsible for the emerging of cancer-causing chemicals around water wells in North Carolina. The substances are actually heavy metals related to the disease. Hexavalent chromium is the main compound which is believed to trigger the disease.
The study was conducted by specialists at the Duke University. They explain that hexavalent chromium could be indeed connected to volcanic rock, but nor coal ash. The sites of the burnt fuel have nothing to do with the unhealthy chemicals reported in the water wells.
One of the main arguments of the researchers was the distance between the two elements in question. According to the study, there was a distance of over eighteen miles between the contaminated water wells and the sites used for burning the coal. The specialists explain that the coal ash couldn’t have triggered the presence of hexavalent chromium so far away from the site.
The experts say that the substances found in water wells and presumably produced by coal ash can cause cancer. The risk of developing the disease arises if people ingest the chemicals.
Professor Avner Vengosh from the Duke University was the leader of the research team. He states that officials such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should set safety rules as far as the threat posed by hexavalent chromium is concerned.
Previous research led in North Carolina showed that people who drink contaminated water develop a higher risk of getting cancer. Specialists explain that a person who is exposed to that risk during his or her lifetime has a one in a million chance of developing the disease. The conditions under which such a risks arises are that water should contain the chemicals in a ratio exceeding 0.07 parts per billion.
However, recent regulations state that the findings of previous studies are quite strict. This would have meant that people should have been restricted from drinking water from the sources they had near by.
As far as coal ash is concerned, it has nothing to do with the level of contamination of the water wells in North Carolina. The coal ash sites belong to Duke Energy. The company also insisted that their activity doesn’t interfere with the water wells and that they are not the ones tainting the water.
The Duke University and Duke Energy are not associated, but specialists on both sides agree that the hexavalent chromium is not produced by coal ash.
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