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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Farmington, New Mexico
    Posts
    6,642

    Default Coal-fired power plants effect on honey

    I have a beekeeping friend who will not place hives near the large coal-fired power plants west of us. His claim is that the power plants produce pollutants that contaminate the honey. Does this concern jive with your experience or with science?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Cloud County, Kansas, USA
    Posts
    204

    Default

    Barry,

    I don't know about honey, but existing coal plants produce mercury which gets into the water supply. In Colorado, most of the fish in the state have measurable levels of mercury and the state recommends those under 18 limit their native fish eating to once a month I believe.

    I suppose it could get in soil from rain, and then be picked up by plants, but most of the concern I've heard is from lakes and ponds around the coal plants.

    BB

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Posts
    707

    Default

    I think it's valid depending on how close you are to the plant.

    "Fly ash contains trace concentrations of heavy metals and other substances that are known to be detrimental to health in sufficient quantities. Potentially toxic trace elements in coal include arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, barium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, molybdenum, nickel, radium, selenium, thorium, uranium, vanadium, and zinc. Approximately 10 percent of the mass of coals burned in the United States consists of unburnable mineral material that becomes ash, so the concentration of most trace elements in coal ash is approximately 10 times the concentration in the original coal"

    U.S. Geological Survey (October, 1997). ""Radioactive Elements in Coal and Fly Ash: Abundance, Forms, and Environmental Significance""

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    franklinton,la.
    Posts
    169

    Default

    I worked maintenance at a coal powered plant in the mid 70's. One of the reasons I quit that good paying job ,was cuz of the high sulfur content in the air with-in the plant.Also flyash (burned coal dust) flying everywhere even out the stacks on to parked cars in P.L.. There was an ash pond where most of the ash was pumped with water however, I am sure there were still some acids in that water.When I left they were in the process of installing scrubbers to remove some of those containments. Nothing in my opinion will ever assure 100% cleaness of the dirty fuel coal.
    BTW: I am not a tree hugger so this is not ment to be policital.
    I left the job for my own health reasons.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Clifford Township, PA
    Posts
    2,061

    Default

    I'd wonder if the area nearest the coal-fired plant might be one of the the "cleanest" areas for his bees. The very high smoke stacks required puts the pollutants high up where winds carry them away for thousands of miles.

    Most lakes in my beloved Adirondacks were killed or negatively affected by the coal-fired plants in the mid-west.

    Wayne

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
    Posts
    1,398

    Default

    What's in the ash ponds has got to be getting in the air too. Maybe not as much but it's getting in the air.

    Now if you want to know just how toxic pond ash is to humans, then ask any of the people near the ash pond that broke over near Oak Ridge, TN. Their land is so contaminated with mercury and other metals it's pathetic. 300 acres that will kill a horse.
    De Colores,
    Ken

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Sawyer, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,115

    Default

    With the number of coal power plants world wide, the pollution is shared by everyone. Coal is the number one fuel source worldwide for the production of electricity. All my hives are located within ten miles of a Nuclear plant. I haven’t noticed anything wrong with taste or color. Except it seems to glow a little in a dark room.
    The Busy Bee teaches two lessons: One is not to be idle and the other is not to get stung.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

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    I noticed in one of the old bee magazines that there was a bit of concerns in regards to coal mined in Montana. It seems the pollutant of main concern was florine that was showing up in fairly high levels first in the surrounding plants and secondarily in the hive.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Wheatfield, IN
    Posts
    2,068

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    My home yard is 2 1/2 miles from a 1200 Megawatt coal Plant (1.2 million KW). I haven't had my honey tested but it tastes mighty good!
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Volga, SD
    Posts
    2,790

    Default

    I don't want to dismiss the idea, but like others have pointed out, where could you really go to avoid pollution or some other potential problem?

    Some beekeepers worry about cell phone towers. Some about transgenic crops. Some about herbicides. Some about coal-burning generators. Some about other things.

    I've read that levels of lead in soil along highways are significantly higher than background levels of lead, likely because of gasoline burned by traffic on those highways before gasoline was unleaded.

    Pesticide residues show up in analyses of polar bears, far from where the pesticides were ever applied.

    By-products and waste chemicals from manufacturing processes have contaminated water supplies.

    How can you avoid all of the potential contaminants from getting into honey? Don't keep bees, I guess.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Bristol,MA,USA
    Posts
    728

    Default

    There are different types of coal. I believe bituminous coal is used in coal fired plants to generate electricity. It stinks and pollutes. Anthracite, (hard coal) on the other hand, as used in a coal burning stove to heat your home, produces less pollutants than wood in a wood burning stove, and is quite comparable to burning gas, a so called clean fuel. The blue flame coal - anthracite. People have been burning coal - anthracite - to heat their homes for decades.

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