New tests can detect tiny toxic particles of coal ash in soil

Tests are specially designed to analyze soil for fly ash particles, grains can be as small as

small so that other tests won't detect them.

Fly ash is part of the residues from coal combustion(CCR), which is formed when a power plant burns pulverized coal. Tiny particles of fly ash, which are often microscopic in size, contain high concentrations of arsenic, selenium and other toxic elements.

Most of the fly ash is trapped inpower plants, then the ash is disposed of in warehouses, but the other part is quite small, so it flies into the environment. Over time, these particles can accumulate in the leeward soil and affect plant and human health.

When the soil contaminated with fly ash isFor some reason, it is deformed, then the dust containing it can fly through the air to nearby houses and other rooms. If a person regularly inhales this dust, he can get diseases of the lungs, heart, in particular cancer or a disorder of the nervous system.

Due to the size of these particles, they were difficult to detect and measure. Our new methods enable us to do this with a high degree of confidence.

Avner Vengosch, Professor of Environmental Quality at the Nicholas Duke School of Environment

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