Hinterland Green

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Report: Most Power Plants Spewing Toxic Mercury

 From McClatchy News:
Many of America's coal-fired power plants lack widely available pollution controls for the highly toxic metal mercury, and mercury emissions recently increased at more than half of the country's 50 largest mercury-emitting power plants, according to a report Wednesday. The nonpartisan Environmental Integrity Project reported that five of the 10 plants with the highest amount of mercury emitted are in Texas. Plants in Georgia, Missouri, Alabama, Pennsylvania and Michigan also are in the top 10.

The report, which used the most recent data available from the Environmental Protection Agency, found that mercury emissions increased at 27 of the top 50 plants from 2007 to 2008. Overall, power plant emissions of mercury decreased 4.7 percent in that timeframe, but that amount was far less than what would be possible with available emissions controls, the report said. Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of mercury pollution, generating more than 40 percent of U.S. emissions. Mercury released into the air settles in rivers and lakes, where it moves through the food chain to the fish that people eat.

Mercury exposure can harm the brain development of infants and children. Each year more than 300,000 babies may have an increased risk of learning disabilities as a result of exposure to mercury before birth, the report said.
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