Hey Hey EPA

How many kids have you killed today?

Report: Chlorine plants polluting fish with mercury:
Nine chlorine plants in the South and East pour at least eight tons of mercury into the environment each year -- a situation that demands federal action to force companies to convert to cleaner technology, activists said Wednesday. Environmentalists think the amount of mercury emitted by the plants may be even greater; the industry acknowledges that tons of the toxic metal are unaccounted for each year, though it does not believe that mercury is dumped into the environment.

Chlorine at the plants is made by pumping electrically charged salty water through a vat of mercury, a process devised more than 100 years ago. Environmentalists say these plants are a largely ignored and unchecked source of mercury pollution.

Mercury settles in waterways and accumulates in fish. In humans who eat those fish, the metal can cause neurological and developmental problems, particularly in fetuses and children.
For example, the companies said a plant in Muscle Shoals, Ala., emitted 1,757 pounds of mercury that year; another, in New Castle, Del., released 2,863 pounds.

But the environmentalists say these calculations may be wrong, because while the companies monitor the amount of mercury that goes out of their smokestacks, they merely estimate the amount that evaporates and leaves the factories through vents.

In addition, industry officials acknowledge that they cannot acount for an additional 30 tons a year. They say that it could be stuck in factory pipes, and they are trying to find it.

The environmentalists are skeptical. They think even more mercury is missing, pointing out that more mercury is delivered to the plants each year than is going out -- 65 tons more in 2000 alone, said Oceana's Jacqueline Savitz, co-author of the report.

and surprisingly (not), the EPA claims that all is hunky dory...

EPA spokeswoman Cynthia Bergman said the question of where all this mercury went is very important to her agency, but that the EPA's “best information indicates that the mercury is not being emitted into the air.”

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on January 26, 2005 1:37 PM.

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