Peabody Energy, the world's largest private-sector coal company, says it is the victim of a hoax after a website, www.coalcares.org, sprang up offering free "Puff-Puff" inhalers for kids with asthma who live within 200 miles of a coal plant. The site allows kids to select the free decorative inhaler of their choice: "My First Inhaler" with a picture of a duck on it, or inhalers with pictures of My Little Pony, Harry Potter, Spongebob Squarepants, Justin Beiber and more. Each inhaler, the site boasts, in made from "sustainable, eco-friendly recycled plastic." The site offers a $10 coupon towards the cost of actual asthma medication and a free charcoal pencil with every order. Other links include the "Kidz Koal Corner" featuring word games for children ages 4-12, like a word puzzle called "The Good Coal Does" where children can hunt for words like "clean," "dependable," "jobs" and "natural." Another page has a photo of birds flying into a wind turbine's spinning blades, and explains the dangers of clean energy technologies. The text says, "Wind turbines can kill up to 70,000 birds per year, or 4.27 birds per turbine per year. Coal particulate pollution, on the other hand, kills fewer than 13,000 people per year." The site says it is sponsored by Peabody Coal. The activist group that created the site is unknown.
By Anne Landman on May 10, 2011