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Breaking News: EPA Says Cement Kiln Mercury Must Go

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View Jared Saylor's blog posts
21 April 2009, 10:32 AM

The EPA just proposed to cut mercury from cement kilns! I've been talking to you about cement kiln pollution since we started this blog, and Earthjustice has been focused on this issue for nearly a decade. Check out our updated campaign page to find out how you can help.

The EPA is asking for public comments, so we need to tell Administrator Lisa Jackson to stand strong and clean up this mercury mess. She's been doing a fantastic job, and we definitely want her to keep up the good work!

Mercury poisoning is in the news almost daily (and I'm not just talking about Jeremy Piven). Just this week, CNN ran a story on mercury levels in the fish we eat, warning parents to be aware of the types of fish their families consume.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, during the first several years of life, a child's brain is still developing and absorbing nutrients. Prenatal and infant mercury exposure can cause poor mental development, cerebral palsy, deafness and blindness. Even in low doses, mercury may affect a child's development, delaying walking and talking, shortening attention span and causing learning disabilities.

Having mercury levels that are too high isn't someone else's problem. In a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of 17 women of childbearing age in the United States has mercury in her blood above the level that could pose a risk to a developing fetus (5.8 micrograms per liter). So the federal government advises pregnant women and those thinking of becoming pregnant to avoid certain fish, such as shark, swordfish and fresh tuna, usually found in fish markets and sushi.

The reality is that mercury pollution in this country is rampant. Learn more about mercury and how we're exposed to it, and get involved. You can start by checking out our interactive map to see if there is a cement kiln near you or someone you know.

Do you live near a cement kiln or power plant? Tell us your story by posting a comment below. It's an exciting time, and we're going to keep you updated on cutting cement kiln pollution.

I teach water quality to public middle school students in underserved schools. We have focused on salt water intrusion into freshwater wetlands. I am very interested in adding information on mercury as we cruise past our coal-fired power plant on one of the field trips on the Savannah River. Is there a fast, cheap test for mercury in water samples? Are local striped bass tested for mercury regularly?(our native population has been about wiped out with saltwater intrusion farther upstream; current (no pun) bass are cross-bred in hatchery, then released into Savannah River. All info welcome. Thanks.

Great news! The mercury is easy to condense like water on anything cold, so they can stop spewing it immediately. The kilns can sell the captured mercury.

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