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Health effects of energy resources

February 3, 2010

Energy resources (coal, oil, and natural gas) are among the cornerstones of modern industrial society. The exploitation of these resources, however, is not without costs. Energy materials may contain harmful chemical substances that, if mobilized into air, water, or soil, can adversely impact human health and environmental quality. In order to address the issue of human exposure to toxic substances derived from energy resources, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Energy Resources Program developed a project entitled 'Impacts of Energy Resources on Human Health and Environmental Quality.' The project is intended to provide policymakers and the public with the scientific information needed to weigh the human health and environmental consequences of meeting our energy needs. This fact sheet discusses several areas where the USGS Energy Resources Program is making scientific advances in this endeavor.