While technology and humanity move towards a more sustainable source of energy, some currently used forms of energy production can prove hazardous to human health, at the moment. In this article, we will discuss five types of current energy production and their possible effects on humans.
Coal is a dangerous source of energy. It is formed when dirt and sediment compressed plants that existed millions of years ago and is a black to brownish-black rock. There are four types of coal: anthracite (86% – 97% carbon), bituminous (45% – 86% carbon), subbituminous (35% – 45% carbon) and lignite (25% – 35% carbon). Emissions from burning coal result in the release of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulates, carbon dioxide, mercury, and other heavy metals. These emissions result in acid rain, smog, respiratory illnesses, lung illnesses, and greenhouse gas production.
Natural gas is composed of hydrocarbon gas liquids and non-hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbon gases are alkanes (i.e., ethane, propane, butane, and natural gasoline) and alkenes (i.e., ethylene, propylene, butylene, and isobutylene). It is formed from plants and animals that have been covered with dirt and rock and compressed over time. Oil and coal are also formed by this process. Natural gas at low levels is not harmful to your health, but a severe leak can cause dizziness, fatigue, nauseousness, headache, and irregular breathing. Because it is a flammable gas, even a small spark can cause an explosion where there is a leak.
Oil is the third product of sedimentary processes. Crude oil is a fossil fuel, a mix of hydrocarbons. It exists in liquid form deep underground in reservoirs, and closer to the surface in tar sands. An oil spill can be hazardous to human health. People who clean up the spill are susceptible to skin and eye irritation, as well as neurological and breathing problems. Breathing in the vapor from oil can cause headaches, dizziness, nauseousness, and respiratory irritation. High levels of fumes can cause coma and death.
Hydroelectric power, generated by dams, is also dangerous to the communities around the dam. The dams cause high concentrations of methylmercury, which is toxic to humans. It can cause problems in developing fetuses, and in adults can cause an increased risk of heart disease, autoimmune effects, and paresthesia, loss of coordination, difficulty in speech and narrowing of the visual field, hearing impairment, blindness, and death.
Nuclear energy is produced when water is warmed by nuclear fission. The steam from this process turns turbines, which create electricity. Although considered a clean source of energy, when a nuclear power plant fails, it can cause severe problems for both humans and the environment. The radioactive waste produced in this way can be very hazardous to humans. It can cause cancer, DNA damage, bone marrow depression, radiation sickness, radiation dermatitis, and gastrointestinal complications. The radiation from meltdowns can make the environment unlivable for thousands of years.
How You Can Help Out with Energy Usage
There’s a variety of things you can do to help conserve energy. One big thing to do is to stop using too much electricity. Another thing is to start using solar panels. And for people thinking that they want to remove their trees should think twice. Trees help conserve energy by cooling the planet, providing shade to patio areas, and help modify and regulate climate. Unless your tree is showing signs of being diseased (such as soil build-up, fungi, dead branches, or large cavities inside the tree) than you should probably keep the tree. Other ways of saving energy include drinking water in steel water bottles, shopping for less mass-produced meat, and helping out local farmers.
In conclusion, although there are many forms of energy production, most have both pros and cons to them. We must carefully explore both pros and cons when we decide what type of energy we will be using for our fuels.