Coal-fired power stations (CFPS) are substantial sources of air pollutants.
The three main pollutants are sulphur dioxide, SO2, a mix of nitrogen oxides referred to as NOx, and particulate matter in the PM10 or PM2.5 size range. SO2 and NOx are both powerful respiratory irritants, causing asthma, chronic lung disease, and restricted lung growth in children. Fine particle pollution causes similar respiratory problems but is also associated with ischaemic heart disease, lung cancer, and increases in mortality. CFPS also release small quantities of highly toxic mercury.