Thursday, April 7, 2011

Example of Gas Industry Lies...Nitrogen Oxides Present No Danger

Sitting here doing some morning tweeting (responding to industry zealots like @KnappAP) and looking for articles on breaking FRACK news, or anything on the (un)Natural Gas industry came across an article about YELLOW PLUMES spewing forth into the environment from the Halton Hills Generating Station every time they start up or shut down.  

The owner of the plant, Trans Canada and their spokesperson (Terry Cunha) admitted to the press that said plume is caused by the presence of nitrogen oxides (NOx) that occur when the plant is starting up or shutting down.  Mr. Cunha went on to say, "There is no threat to the community or to the residents,” and “We are meeting all the regulations within the MOE.”  Blathering on he explained the cause with "Visibility of the yellow plume varies depending on atmospheric conditions such as air temperature, moisture levels and cloud cover.”

Not being one to trust Natural Gas industry spokespersons, did a quick Google Search on Nitrogen Oxides and their HEALTH EFFECTS...Makes one wonder if America should be allowing Trans Canada to be playing such an important role in the Keystone Pipeline Project.  I mean if they are putting out a public misinformation campaign in the community playing host too one of their generating stations, what other lies do they have circulating about in the public domain.

Nitrogen gas, normally relatively inert (unreactive), comprises about 80% of the air. At high temperatures and under certain other conditions it can combine with oxygen in the air, forming several different gaseous compounds collectively called oxides of nitrogen (NOx). Nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2 - the criteria pollutant) are the two most important.

Health Effects

Certain members of this group of pollutants, especially nitrogen dioxide (NO2), are known to be highly toxic to various animals as well as to humans. High levels may be fatal, while lower levels affect the delicate structure of lung tissue. In experimental animals this leads to a lung disease that resembles emphysema in humans. As with ozone, long-term exposure to nitrogen oxides makes animals more susceptible to respiratory infections. Nitrogen dioxide exposure lowers the resistance of animals to such diseases as pneumonia and influenza. Humans exposed to high concentrations suffer lung irritation and potentially lung damage. Increased respiratory disease has been associated with lower level exposures.
The human health effects of exposure to nitrogen oxides, such as nitrogen dioxide, are similar to those of ozone. These effects may include:
  • Short-term exposure at concentrations greater than 3 parts per million (ppm) can measurably decrease lung function.
  • Concentrations less than 3 ppm can irritate lungs.
  • Concentrations as low as 0.1 ppm cause lung irritation and measurable decreases in lung function in asthmatics.
  • Long-term lower level exposures can destroy lung tissue, leading to emphysema.
Children may also be especially sensitive to the effects of nitrogen oxides.

Other Effects

Oxides of nitrogen also can:
  • Seriously injure vegetation at certain concentrations. Effects include:
    • Bleaching or killing plant tissue.
    • Causing leaves to fall.
    • Reducing growth rate.
  • Deteriorate fabrics and fade dyes.
  • Corrode metals (due to nitrate salts formed from nitrogen oxides).
  • Reduce visibility.
Oxides of nitrogen, in the presence of sunlight, can also react with hydrocarbons, forming photochemical oxidants. Also, NOx is a precursor to acidic precipitation, which may affect both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Golly GEE there Trans Canada, that plume suddenly sounds as if IT DOES PRESENT HEALTH RISKS to the citizens living close by...also raises some serious questions as to the SAFETY of creating electricity using Natural Gas fired plants.