Physical and Biological Studies of Coal Fly Ash

  • Gerald L. Fisher
  • Clarence E. Chrisp
Part of the Environmental Science Research book series (ESRH, volume 15)


In our initial studies of the potential health impact of energy technologies, we have performed physical, chemical, and mutagenic studies with coal fly ash. Although the vast majority (95–99%) of the fly ash produced in coal combustion for electric power generation is retained in the power plant, we (5) have estimated that 2.4 million metric tons of fly ash were emitted in the atmosphere from U. S. coal-fired electric plants in 1974. Because the principal particulate emission control technologies, electrostatic precipitators (ESP) or wet scrubbers, have low collection efficiency for smaller particles (34), much of the released fly ash is in the “respirable” size range (aerodynamic diameters <10 m) (11). This fine particle fraction presents the greatest potential health hazard because fine particles have the longest atmospheric residence times, and thus the greatest potential for ultimate human inhalation (21), and are generally most efficiently deposited in deep lung and least efficiently removed by mucociliary transport (35).


Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry Electrostatic Precipitator Fine Particle Fraction Lead Chromate Serum Filtrate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Ames BN, McCann J, Yamasaki E: Methods for detecting carcinogens and mutagens with the Salmonella mammalian microsome mutagenicity test. Mutat Res 31:347–363, 1975Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Chrisp CE, Fisher GL, Lammert JE: Mutagenicity of filtrates from respirable coal fly ash. Science 199:73–75, 1978ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Fisher GL, Chang DPY, Brummer M: Fly ash collected from electrostatic precipitators: Microcrystalline structures and the mystery of the spheres. Science 192:553–555, 1976ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Fisher GL, Hayes T: unpublished dataGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Fisher GL, Prentice BA, Silberman D, Ondov JM, Biermann AH, Ragaini RC, McFarland AR: Physical and morphological studies of size-classified coal fly ash. Environ Sci Tech, in press, 1978Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Fisher GL, Silberman D, Heft RE, Ondov JM: Fly ash filterability, differential solubility and elemental distribution studies. In: Radiobiology Laboratory Annual Report, University of California, Davis California 34–40, 1977Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Flessel CP: Metals as mutagens. Adv Exp Biol Med 91: 117–128, 1978Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Furst A, Schlauder M, Sasmore DP: Tumorigenic activity of lead Chromate. Cancer Res 36:1779–1783, 1976Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Furst A: An overview of metal carcinogenesis. Adv Exp Biol Med 91:1–12, 1978Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hansen LD, Fisher GL: unpublished dataGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hatch TF, Gross P: Pulmonary Deposition and Retention of Inhaled Aerosols. New York, Academic Press, 1964Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Heath JC: Carcinogenic action of metals. Brit Emp Cancer Campaign Rep, Part 11:389, 1963Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Heath JC, Webb M, Caffrey M: The interaction of carcinogenic metals with tissues and body fluids: Cobalt and horse serum. Br J Cancer 23:153–166, 1969CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hurt J, Biechnicki DJ: Ultrafine-grain ceramics from melt phase. In: Ultrafine-Grain Ceramics (Burke JJ, Reed NL, Weiss V, eds.). Syracuse, Syracuse University Press, 1970, pp 286–287Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    International Agency for Research on Cancer. Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risk of Chemicals to Man, Vol I. Lyon, 184, 1972Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    International Agency for Research on Cancer. Some Inorganic and Organic Metallic Compounds, Vol II. Lyon, 181, 1973Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Jennings WG, Sucre L, Fisher GL, Raabe OG: Analysis of the organic constituents of coal, fly ash, coke and coal tar. In: Radiobiology Laboratory Annual Report, University of California, Davis, California, 1977, pp 24–33Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Kubota H, Griest WH, Guerin MR: Determination of carcinogens in tobacco smoke and coal-derived samples — trace polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons. In: Trace Substances in Environmental Health IX (Hemphill DD, ed.), Columbia, University of Missouri, 1975, pp 281–289Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Lau TJ, Hackett RL, Sunderman FW: The carcinogenicity of intravenous nickel carbonyl in rats. Cancer Res 32: 2253–2258, 1972Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    McFarland AR, Bertch RW, Fisher GL, Prentice BA: A fractionator for size-classification of aerosolized solid particulate matter. Environ Sci Tech 11:781–784, 1977CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Mercer TT: Aerosol Technology in Hazard Evaluation. New York, Academic Press, 1973, pp 21–62Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Murchison D, Westoll, TS: Coal and Coal-Bearing Strata. New York, American Elsevier, 1968, p 418Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Natusch DFS: Potentially carcinogenic species emitted from fossil fuel power plants. Environ Health Perspectives, in press, 1978Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Natusch DFS, Wallace JR: Urban aerosol toxicity: The influence of particle size. Science 186:695–699, 1974ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    McCann J, Choi E, Yamasaki E, Ames BN: Detection of carcinogens as mutagens in the Salmonella microsome test. Assay of 300 chemicals. Proc Nat Acad Sci 72: 5135–5139, 1975ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Ondov JM, Ragaini RC, Heft RE, Fisher GL, Silberman D, Prentice BA: Interlaboratory comparison of neutron activation and atomic absorption analyses of size-classified stack fly ash. Proc NBS 8th Materials Research Symposium, Gaithersburg, MD, 1977, pp 565–572Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Ondov JM, Zoller WH, Ornez I, Aras NK, Gordon GE, Rancitelli LA, Abel KH, Filby RH, Shah KR, Ragaini RC: Elemental concentrations in the National Bureau of Standards’ environmental coal and fly ash standard reference materials. Anal Chem 47:1102, 1975CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Ottolenghi AD, Haseman JK, Payne WW, Falk HL, MacFarland HN: Inhalation studies of nickel sulfide in pulmonary carcinogenesis. J Nat Can Inst 54:1165–1172, 197Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Pawley JB, Fisher GL: Using simultaneous three color X-ray mapping and digital-scan-stop for rapid elemental characterization of coal combustion by-products. J Micros 110:87–101, 1977CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Pott P: The Chirurgical Works of Percival Pott, Vol II. Philadelphia, James Webster, 1819, p 291Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Rosenor VM, Oratz M, Rothschild MA: Albumin Structure, Function and Uses. New York, Pergamon Press, 1977, pp 143–158Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Silberman D, Fisher GL: Analysis of coal fly ash by atomic absorption spectroscopy. Pacific Conference on Chemistry and Spectroscopy, October 1977, Anaheim, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Stone GD, Shimkin MB, Troxell MC, Thompson TL, Terry LS: Test for carcinogenicity of metallic compounds by the pulmonary tumor response in strain A mice. Cancer Res 36:1744–1747, 1976Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Vandergrift AE, Shannon LF, Gorman PG: Controlling fine particles. Chem Eng 80:107–114, 1973Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Yeh, HC, Phalen RF, Raabe OG: Factors influencing the deposition of inhaled particles. Environ Health Perspect 15:147–156, 1976CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald L. Fisher
    • 1
  • Clarence E. Chrisp
    • 1
  1. 1.Radiobiology LaboratoryUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

Personalised recommendations