COMMENTARY Expansion of Renewable Energy Industries and Implications for Occupational Health Fossil fuel workers risk unintended injury from extrac- Steven A. Sumner, MD tion activities and also are exposed to hazardous particu- Peter M. Layde, MD, MSc late matter, gases, and radiation in the extraction environ- ment. Extraction activities, such as those in offshore oil ECENT PASSAGE OF THE AMERICAN RECOVERY AND drilling, also isolate workers from prompt emergency care 1 6 Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides significantly in the event of a life-threatening injury. increased funding for renewable energy indus- Many renewable energy technologies uniquely alter the Rtries that are expected to increasingly supplant traditional fuel cycle in that they reduce or eliminate the the traditional fossil fuel energy industries of coal, oil, and fuel extraction phase, thereby minimizing or eliminating a natural gas. phase in which a high rate of occupational injury occurs. Although fossil fuel energy has historically been priced To be accurate, wind and solar technologies are not com- lower than renewable energy, hidden costs to energy pro- pletely without an extraction phase because raw materials duction have not been fully included or internalized in the are required to manufacture wind turbines and photovol- market
JAMA – American Medical Association
Published: Aug 19, 2009
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