In the debate over dirty coal, Michael E. McGinley states in his May 20 letter, “Mitigation can bring solution,” that Canadian coal is sprayed with dust-control material that may provide a solution. Concerned that the solution could be as bad as the problem, I did some research.
The material “Coaltrol” is made of unspecified chemicals, but the company claims it is nontoxic. The Material Safety Data Sheet revealed no egregious hazard, but the usual warnings applied: Keep from children. Wash skin and eyes thoroughly.
Since 2007, I’ve led workshops on eliminating toxics from the home environment. To prepare, I do my homework. I’ve learned that government regulations and warnings lag far behind proof when common chemical products carry risks. I’m not reassured by Coaltrol. It could be yet another straw in the chemical load that we expect our bodies and our ecosystem to bear in exchange for our affluence, convenience, and complacency. No thanks.