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Coal power? It's fine -- and have an inhaler, says fake website

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May 11, 2011|By Marissa Cevallos, HealthKey / For the Booster Shots blog

This post has been corrected. See note at bottom for details.

Hey kids, coal power production and consumption are actually quite safe. In fact, coal power is, when you come right down to it, solar power. And one company, Peabody Energy, even wants to give free inhalers to families who live within 200 miles of a coal plant.

Such are the statements made on a hoax website, CoalCares.org. The site is fairly convincing, promising to send custom asthma inhalers emblazoned with the likenesses of Dora the Explorer, Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber.

The campaign behind the site, called Coal Kills Kids, takes a sharp jab at the health effects of pollutants from coal plants – in a way that isn’t always blatantly obvious.

This Wired.com article offers some background on the site – and Peabody Energy’s reaction.  

For some people, the parody, and the likely horrified reactions it elicits, evoke those created by TheTruth.com campaign.

It appears those pushing for social change have found a new weapon.

healthkey@tribune.com

For the Record, 7:11 p.m. May 11: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said the social activism group Change.org sponsored the hoax site.


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