Coal and Health

The Healthy Energy Initiative’s Coal and Health Portal is an online compilation of resources– including fact sheets, reports, infographics, and videos–that chronicle the human health consequences of coal combustion for electricity generation and of other parts of the coal life cycle.

The Health Impacts of the Coal Life Cycle

Fact sheet published October 2017 by the Healthy Energy Initiative

“The Health Impacts of the Coal Lifecycle” fact sheet summarizes the available evidence on the adverse health effects of each stage of the coal life cycle—mining, processing, transportation and storage, combustion, and waste disposal.

While the combustion of coal for elecCoalLifeCycle_thumbtricity generation is well-recognized for creating the largest health burden in the coal life cycle, this fact sheet demonstrates how the entire life cycle poses health risks to three key population groups: workers exposed to unhealthy or dangerous conditions; communities exposed to pollution and other impacts on air, water; and land; and on populations around the world that are vulnerable to, or already suffering from, the effects of climate change.



Scientific Evidence of Health Effects from Coal Use in Energy Generation

UIC_HCWH_CoverLiterature review published April 2013 by Health Care Without Harm and the University of Illinois at Chicago

This document includes scientific evidence of health effects from the use of coal for energy generation. Its aim is to serve as a resource for those interested in the evidence from the health research literature addressing the health effects of the use of coal, focusing primarily on air emissions from coal combustion. Biomedical research databases were searched for all articles using the search terms “coal or solid fuel” and “health or burden or economic or cost”. Download (PDF, 1 MB)


  • Peer-reviewed article: Buchanan, S., Burt, E. & Orris, P. Beyond black lung: scientific evidence of health effects from coal use in electricity generation.” J Public Health Pol (2014) 35: 266.