Burning coal creates a wide range of pollutants. Mercury is one of the more toxic byproducts found in coal ash. This is a potent neurotoxin can be lethal at just a few milligrams.
In 2014, the last year data was available from the EPA, US coal plants generated 45,900 pounds of mercury, which worked out to be about 0.03 pounds of mercury per gigawatt hour of coal powered electricity generated (or 0.003 pounds of mercury every 1,000,000 kilowatt hours).
Download the full spreadsheet from the link in the bottom right side of the embedded Excel sheet.
This analysis is referenced in Straight facts on the environmental impact of coal: CO2, pollution, land, and water.
- New York Times on relaxing regulations around mercury: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/16/climate/epa-mercury-coal.html
Code: m138 GWhLbCoalMerc math xbMath