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Archive for April 22nd, 2007

Posted by naturalhealthmd on April 22, 2007

I found this article about Mercury. I believe this is something that we all need to keep track of. I will post another article tomorrow about Mercury. 

The EPA Re-Evaluates Mercury Emissions Regulations

Thankfully, more and more people are waking up to the fact that mercury, whether from amalgam fillings or seafood, is a health hazard. It was very encouraging to learn that over 500,000 comments have been submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding its proposal to reduce mercury emissions from fossil fuel burning power plants. This record setting response is meaningful and appropriate because this is the first time a governmental agency has attempted to regulate these emissions. But because the EPA was so strongly influenced by the White House and energy lobbyists, a controversy surrounding its original proposal arose. 

The essence of the controversy comes down to how much and how quickly mercury can be reduced. Today mercury emissions from power plants total 48 tons a year. The Bush administration proposed that the EPA reduce mercury emissions by 29% by the year 2010 and 70% by 2018. This is in sharp contrast to what environmental groups and Democrats in Congress believe is necessary and possible. They say the EPA should reduce mercury emissions by 90% and achieve this reduction no later than 2009. 

Had it not been for such an intense public response, the EPA would have followed the Bush administration’s recommendations and issued its regulations in December of 2004. It is very encouraging to know that public opinion forced the EPA to re-evaluate its position. Environmentalist hope this will give the EPA time to use science and concern for public health, and not politics, to come up with more objective recommendations. The EPA has agreed and postponed its final decision to 2005. But the real questions are, why the big gap between the two factions and why should the public be so concerned? 

In 1994, electricity generated with fossil fuels was responsible for 23 percent of all industrial atmospheric mercury emissions, with coal-fired power plants producing the most mercury. Environmental mercury pollution isn’t selective. You really don’t have a say in how much exposure to environmental mercury you will receive. Of course, your exposure will be determined by how close you live to pollution sources, but because mercury emitted from power plants finds its way into the atmosphere, you can be affected even if you live far from the emission area. Consequently, no one is safe from these emissions, including the polluters. 


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