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Health Impacts of Air Pollution from Washington DC Area Power Plants

May 1, 2002

Health Impacts of Air Pollution from Washington D.C. Area Power Plants. Summary by John Thompson, Clean Air Task Force (May 2002). Based on a May 17, 2002 briefing before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee by Harvard’s Dr. Jonathan Levy, this summary describes results of a study undertaken by a team of researchers from Harvard School of Public Health to, in part, estimate the health risks of five power plants in the Metropolitan Washington D.C. area. In the study (Levy et al, Environmental Health Perspectives, in press, 2003) researchers estimate that over 250 premature deaths per year are associated with fine particulate matter air pollution from five power plants in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia. These plants are: Benning, Chalk Point, Dickerson, Possum Point and Potomac River. Disadvantaged groups were found to be especially vulnerable to air pollution; while only 25 percent of the population studied has less than a high school education this group suffers approximately half of the mortality attributed to the plants.