Pollutant Information: Selenium
Category: Heavy metals and base cations
Acute exposure to selenium by inhalation results in respiratory effects such as irritation to the mucous membranes, severe bronchitis and bronchial pneumonia. Selenium emissions have declined by 91% since 1990. The majority of selenium emissions in earlier years were from coal-fired power stations in particular and coal combustion generally, but emissions from coal combustion have fallen by 98% since 1990 as coal use has declined. Coal remained a significant source in 2019, contributing 13% of UK emissions. In 2019, iron and steel production accounted for 9% of total emissions. The use of selenium by the glass industry is also a significant source – 16% of emissions in 1990 and also 14% in 2019, however the mass emitted has been reduced by 90% over that period by eliminating the use of selenium or control on particulate emissions from glass furnaces.
Time series graph
|Start year||End year||Sector||Information||Impact|
|1984||1985||Public Electricity and Heat Production||Miners strike resulting in a reduction in the consumption of coal and an increase in the consumption of alternative fuels in power stations for that year.||Decrease in emissions|