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Wed Feb 8, 2017, 08:41 AM

Scientists Find High Levels Of Selenium From Coal Ash In NC Fish Near Duke Energy Plants

High levels of an element found in coal ash have been detected in fish in two lakes where Duke Energy coal-fired power plants are located, Duke University researchers reported Tuesday. Fish in a third lake, Mountain Island near Charlotte, held selenium but at levels below a federal threshold set to protect aquatic life.

The element, selenium, occurs naturally but is concentrated in coal ash. Exposure to it can cause deformities, impaired growth and reproduction problems in fish, and can be toxic to birds that eat the fish.

The Duke researchers linked the selenium they found in the lakes to the reported discharges from coal ash ponds.

“Across the board, we’re seeing elevated selenium levels in fish from lakes affected by coal combustion residual effluents,” said study leader Jessica Brandt, a graduate student in environmental health at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.



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