Coal’s unpaid health bill in the European Union

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HEAL’s European coal and health campaign

In March 2013, HEAL launched the first ‘Unpaid Health Bill – How coal power plants make us sick’, highlighting that the health costs of coal-fired power stations add a financial burden to the European population of up to €42.8 billion a year.

The report includes testimonies from leading health advocates, medical experts and policy makers on why they are concerned about coal, as well as developing recommendations for policy-makers and the health community on how to address the unpaid health bill and ensure that it is taken into account in future energy decisions.

- Download the full report here - EN- DE - POL - RO
- Download the Executive Summary here - EN - DE - POL - RO
- Download the coal and health postcard here - EN - POL
- Press release EN - FR - ES - IT - RO - DU - DE - POL
- Media coverage updated 2 April 2013 here
- Check out our Facebook page on coal and help us grow the network by liking our page!

Prof Jean-Paul Sculier, Secretary for European Affairs, European Respiratory Society (ERS), author of the Preface says,
“Addressing air pollution from coal power plants alone has the potential to yield significant savings to health budgets, especially given that an average coal power plant operates for at least forty years. As 2013 is the European Year of Air where a review of EU air quality policy will take place, this is the right time to act.”

Birgit Beger, Secretary General, Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME)
“European doctors know air pollution to be an important risk factor for health, and the CPME has a long-standing interest in this topic. Health professionals are committed to bringing new evidence-based information to the public as well as to decision makers and using their voice to bring about policy changes.”

Further testimonies available here

The Unpaid Health Bill marked the beginning of a coal and health campaign in which HEAL continues to work closely with medical, health and climate advocacy groups, especially in countries where coal is a particular threat to health. Since the start of the campaign, the report has been launched in Romania (December 2013), Poland (June 2013), Germany (April 2013) and most recently in Turkey (May 2015).

About HEAL

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

Contact us

Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)
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B1000 Brussels, Belgium
Phone: +32 2 234 3640
Fax: +32 2 234 3649
Press: Elke Zander

Direct telephone numbers: HEAL team page.

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