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August 19, 2009

Expansion of Renewable Energy Industries and Implications for Occupational Health

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina (Dr Sumner); Injury Research Center (Drs Sumner and Layde) and Department of Population Health (Dr Layde), Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

JAMA. 2009;302(7):787-789. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1214

Recent passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 20091 provides significantly increased funding for renewable energy industries that are expected to increasingly supplant the traditional fossil fuel energy industries of coal, oil, and natural gas.

Although fossil fuel energy has historically been priced lower than renewable energy, hidden costs to energy production have not been fully included or internalized in the market price of fuel, thereby distorting true costs. These additional costs are known as externalities of energy. One such externality of energy is adverse effects on human health.

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