A while back, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the first ever standards for mercury and other air toxics emissions from coal-fired plants. When I first heard that these pollutants had never been regulated before, I was shocked! Surely they were limited under the Clean Air Act? So I decided to do some research, and what I found was pretty scary.
The first thing I found was the laundry list of severe health effects pollutants like mercury and arsenic can have, even when present only in small amounts. These toxins are extremely harmful and have been linked to cancer, heart disease, neurological damage, birth defects, asthma attacks and even premature death.
Mercury, a neurotoxin, is particularly harmful pollutant because it settles from the air onto our lakes, rivers and forests, polluting the environment and accumulating up the food chain as fish and wildlife consumes the contamination. Most Great Lakes States have posted warnings about eating the fish due to mercury contamination.