A global perspective on coal-fired power plants and burden of lung cancer

Cheng Kuan Lin, Ro Ting Lin, Tom Chen, Corwin Zigler, Yaguang Wei, David C. Christiani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Exposure to ambient particulate matter generated from coal-fired power plants induces long-term health consequences. However, epidemiologic studies have not yet focused on attributing these health burdens specifically to energy consumption, impeding targeted intervention policies. We hypothesize that the generating capacity of coal-fired power plants may be associated with lung cancer incidence at the national level. Methods: Age- and sex-adjusted lung cancer incidence from every country with electrical plants using coal as primary energy supply were followed from 2000 to 2016. We applied a Poisson regression longitudinal model, fitted using generalized estimating equations, to estimate the association between lung cancer incidence and per capita coal capacity, adjusting for various behavioral and demographic determinants and lag periods. Results: The average coal capacity increased by 1.43 times from 16.01 gigawatts (GW) (2000~2004) to 22.82 GW (2010~2016). With 1 kW (KW) increase of coal capacity per person in a country, the relative risk of lung cancer increases by a factor of 59% (95% CI = 7.0%~ 135%) among males and 85% (95% CI = 22%~ 182%) among females. Based on the model, we estimate a total of 1.37 (range = 1.34 ~ 1.40) million standardized incident cases from lung cancer will be associated with coal-fired power plants in 2025. Conclusions: These analyses suggest an association between lung cancer incidence and increased reliance on coal for energy generation. Such data may be helpful in addressing a key policy question about the externality costs and estimates of the global disease burden from preventable lung cancer attributable to coal-fired power plants at the national level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9
JournalEnvironmental Health: A Global Access Science Source
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 28 2019

Fingerprint

Power Plants
Coal
Lung Neoplasms
Incidence
Particulate Matter
Health
Epidemiologic Studies
Demography
Costs and Cost Analysis

Keywords

  • Coal capacity
  • Coal-fired power plants
  • Energy matrix
  • Environmental factor
  • Global burden disease
  • Lung cancer incidence
  • PM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this

A global perspective on coal-fired power plants and burden of lung cancer. / Lin, Cheng Kuan; Lin, Ro Ting; Chen, Tom; Zigler, Corwin; Wei, Yaguang; Christiani, David C.

In: Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source, Vol. 18, No. 1, 9, 28.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Lin, Cheng Kuan ; Lin, Ro Ting ; Chen, Tom ; Zigler, Corwin ; Wei, Yaguang ; Christiani, David C. / A global perspective on coal-fired power plants and burden of lung cancer. In: Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source. 2019 ; Vol. 18, No. 1.
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abstract = "Background: Exposure to ambient particulate matter generated from coal-fired power plants induces long-term health consequences. However, epidemiologic studies have not yet focused on attributing these health burdens specifically to energy consumption, impeding targeted intervention policies. We hypothesize that the generating capacity of coal-fired power plants may be associated with lung cancer incidence at the national level. Methods: Age- and sex-adjusted lung cancer incidence from every country with electrical plants using coal as primary energy supply were followed from 2000 to 2016. We applied a Poisson regression longitudinal model, fitted using generalized estimating equations, to estimate the association between lung cancer incidence and per capita coal capacity, adjusting for various behavioral and demographic determinants and lag periods. Results: The average coal capacity increased by 1.43 times from 16.01 gigawatts (GW) (2000~2004) to 22.82 GW (2010~2016). With 1 kW (KW) increase of coal capacity per person in a country, the relative risk of lung cancer increases by a factor of 59{\%} (95{\%} CI = 7.0{\%}~ 135{\%}) among males and 85{\%} (95{\%} CI = 22{\%}~ 182{\%}) among females. Based on the model, we estimate a total of 1.37 (range = 1.34 ~ 1.40) million standardized incident cases from lung cancer will be associated with coal-fired power plants in 2025. Conclusions: These analyses suggest an association between lung cancer incidence and increased reliance on coal for energy generation. Such data may be helpful in addressing a key policy question about the externality costs and estimates of the global disease burden from preventable lung cancer attributable to coal-fired power plants at the national level.",
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AB - Background: Exposure to ambient particulate matter generated from coal-fired power plants induces long-term health consequences. However, epidemiologic studies have not yet focused on attributing these health burdens specifically to energy consumption, impeding targeted intervention policies. We hypothesize that the generating capacity of coal-fired power plants may be associated with lung cancer incidence at the national level. Methods: Age- and sex-adjusted lung cancer incidence from every country with electrical plants using coal as primary energy supply were followed from 2000 to 2016. We applied a Poisson regression longitudinal model, fitted using generalized estimating equations, to estimate the association between lung cancer incidence and per capita coal capacity, adjusting for various behavioral and demographic determinants and lag periods. Results: The average coal capacity increased by 1.43 times from 16.01 gigawatts (GW) (2000~2004) to 22.82 GW (2010~2016). With 1 kW (KW) increase of coal capacity per person in a country, the relative risk of lung cancer increases by a factor of 59% (95% CI = 7.0%~ 135%) among males and 85% (95% CI = 22%~ 182%) among females. Based on the model, we estimate a total of 1.37 (range = 1.34 ~ 1.40) million standardized incident cases from lung cancer will be associated with coal-fired power plants in 2025. Conclusions: These analyses suggest an association between lung cancer incidence and increased reliance on coal for energy generation. Such data may be helpful in addressing a key policy question about the externality costs and estimates of the global disease burden from preventable lung cancer attributable to coal-fired power plants at the national level.

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