Trace Elements in West Virginia Coals
Cadmium is one of the Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) as outlined in
Title III of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 in West Virginia coals
and is of environmental concern.
Geologic Occurrence: Cadmium is present in very low abundance
(0.10 ppm) in West Virginia coals. Cadmium is primarily associated
with minerals in coal, primarily in solid solution with Zn in the mineral
(ZnS) 1. Cadmium has also been noted in clay minerals
and some carbonate minerals in coal 2. Lowest Cd values
are in coals below the middle of the Kanawha Formation with higher and
more variable values in coals above the middle Kanawha Formation. Whole
coal Cd showed no statistical correlation with ash yield, total sulfur
or pyritic sulfur, but a moderate correlation with zinc and lead, representing
a long known relationship between these elements in the mineral sphalerite.
Economic Impact: Very low cadmium in West Virginia coals should
have no economic impact. The primary use of cadmium is in electroplating,
also in solder, Ni-Cd batteries, television phosphors and a yellow pigment
in paint 3.
Environmental Impact: Cadmium is a toxic trace element
in coal. Coal combustion contributes one tenth of the Cd to the atmosphere,
the same as volcanoes and is considered to be a minor source of atmospheric
H.J. and Lindahl, P.C., (1973)
Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
Page last revised: January 24, 2006
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