Environment America’s research found that:
· Mercury pollution is a widespread health risk. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that one in six women of childbearing age has enough mercury in her bloodstream to put her child at risk from the health effects of mercury pollution, including learning disabilities, developmental disorders, and lower IQs, should she become pregnant. This means that more than 689,000 of the 4.1 million babies born every year could be exposed to dangerous levels of mercury pollution.The report comes as the EPA is set to propose a standard to limit mercury and other toxic air pollution from power plants in March, with a plan to finalize the standard by November. Environment America was joined by the American Nurses Association in calling on the EPA to issue a strong standard that will significantly reduce these harmful pollutants from power plants, and specifically cut mercury pollution by more than 90%.
· Mercury pollution harms our environment. Fish, and animals that consume fish, suffer from reproductive failure and mortality as a result of mercury pollution. More U.S. waters are closed to fishing because of mercury contamination than because of any other toxic contamination problem. The EPA has found that large parts of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers are contaminated by mercury which poisons fish in those waterways.
· Power plants in the United States are responsible for 134,365 pounds of mercury spewed into our air and water in 2009. The top 25 worst polluters, out of 451 power plants, were responsible for nearly 28 percent of all mercury pollution from power plants.
Unfortunately, while the EPA is undertaking this rulemaking, Congress and industry lobbyists are working to prevent the EPA from doing its job, by threatening to introduce legislation to block this and other rules from limiting dangerous air pollution. (EPA)