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Toxic effects of coal combustion waste

November 2, 2010

Metals and trace elements leached from surfaceimpounded CCW have caused dramatic and costly impacts to aquatic life for decades.Effects range from acute mortality to chronic, debilitating toxicity as shown here in this 1980photograph of fish from Belews Lake, NC, afflicted by selenium poisoning (v-shaped spines).Selenium bioaccumulates in food chains and passes from parents to offspring in eggs, whereit causes a variety of skeletal deformities and other abnormalities in the developing embryos.This can lead to massive reproductive failure and local extinction of species (photo by A.D.Lemly).