According to a recently led Duke University study, it was revealed that the coal ash released from all three major United States coal-producing basins contains radioactive contaminants. The levels of radioactivity found in this ash is five times higher than that of normal soil due to the the way combustion concentrates radioactivity. Because of these findings, the team at Duke was led to search for radium isotopes and lead-210 in the ash. Coal naturally holds these radioactive elements, but once the coal is burned, these elements become even more radioactive. Currently, coal ash disposal sites are not monitored for radioactivity, so no one is aware of the amount of these containments released to the environment. This alone is a risk to environment and human health.
The article spoken of above is from from Science Daily.