Oct 30, 2007

600,000 brain damage babies born in the US... because pregnant mothers ate mercury-contaminated fish

"Power Plants Are Focus of Drive To Cut Mercury"
"Despite decades of government attempts to regulate it, ban it and erase it from household use, the poisonous metal mercury remains a threat to the environment and public health, especially to children and to women of childbearing age. As many as 600,000 babies may be born in the USA each year with irreversible brain damage because pregnant mothers ate mercury-contaminated fish, the Environmental Protection Agency says. Medical researchers are just beginning to explore such mercury exposure in adults, which can leave some people struggling through life in a disorienting 'fish fog.' Nationwide, more than 8,000 lakes, rivers and bays are compromised by mercury's toxic effects. Where is all the mercury coming from and can something be done to stop it? A partial answer can be found in the nearly 500 coal-burning power plants that supply half the nation's electricity. The $298-billion-a-year electric utility industry is the nation's largest source of mercury air emissions and the latest target of federal and state clean-air regulations. Mercury emissions in the USA have been cut nearly in half since 1990 as municipal, medical and hazardous-waste incinerators closed or installed modern pollution controls. But mercury from coal-burning power plants has risen, largely because there have been no federal limits on such emissions." Larry Wheeler reports for Gannett News Service in USA TODAY Oct. 30, 2007.

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