Covington, Ga. (October 14, 2011) – The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), in conjunction with the Newton County NAACP and the Newton County SCLC, will have a Community Health Fair on Saturday, October 15, 2011. In addition to general health screenings and tests, SACE will sponsor mercury hair testing to inform citizens about the harmful effects of coal plants.
“A lot of people in Georgia don’t realize how much mercury we ingest and get in our systems. We think if people knew, they would be appalled – and they would never let another mercury-spewing coal plant get built in our state,” said Eriqah Foreman Williams with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
Snapping Shoals Electric Membership Corporation (EMC), a major electricity provider in the Covington community, has partnered with Cobb EMC and other electric membership co-ops in Georgia to build two new coal plants in the state. Studies show that the plants will raise co-op members’ bills by $200 a year, and cause numerous ill health effects. Adverse health effects from coal are most common in low-income communities of color, where coal plants like these tend to be located. African-American children are rushed to the emergency room four times more often than white children due to asthma attacks, a direct result of pollution from coal plants.
“Most of the coal-powered plants are being built in areas inhabited by low-income and/or minority populations, where the people have a limited voice in expressing how the polluted emissions can be detrimental to ones’ health,” said Dr. Gwen Cattledge, president of the Newton County NAACP. “If we continue to build coal-powered plants around the state, what health effects will it cause on our minority populations who are already perplexed with getting quality health care and services?”
Coal plants also emit mercury; a dangerous neurotoxin that contaminates fish and can cause mental disabilities in children and newborns whose mothers eat contaminated fish. Existing coal plants have already made fish in many Georgia waterways too toxic to eat. Today’s testing is aimed at informing women of childbearing age of how much mercury is in their bodies and that mercury could be passed on to a baby. # # # Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast.http://www.cleanenergy.org