Quantcast

Moms, Health Professionals and Environmental Groups Call for Strong National Mercury Standards

Sierra Club

On Dec. 1, the Sierra Club joined with local families and environmental organizations to call upon President Barack Obama to enact strong mercury standards for our power plants. These first ever standards, proposed in March, would reduce mercury in our air and water by more than 90 percent.

Mercury has been linked with serious developmental disorders and learning disabilities and at the moment our power plants are allowed to spew this toxic pollution without limits. Ohio’s coal plants are among the worst in country emitting more than 4,218 pounds of airborne mercury pollution every year, a leading factor in making Ohio number one for toxic air pollution in the country.

Theresa Davis-Bowling, a mother from Cleveland, who’s son lives with chronic asthma, is now preparing to give her son Zolar shots which cost $1,200 each. “Initially he has to take a shot every week for a month and then every month thereafter, which will cost $4,800 the first month and a total of $18,000 for one year—he's only 13, you do the math.”

The experience of Theresa’s son is just one of many across the country, every year the coal industry causes more than $100 billion in health costs due to the toxic pollution of their coal plants. By reducing particle matter by 55 percent, these mercury standards would help curve Cuyahoga County’s extreme incidence of asthma. In 2008, the asthma rate among Cleveland school children was more than double the national average.

Jesse Honsky, a registered nurse and expert on maternal and child health, lamented that “A child exposed to toxic levels of mercury faces not just health consequences, but also social, economic and quality of life consequences. The harmful effects of mercury can be permanent and the effects can last for years after the damage occurs.”

The families of Northeast Ohio now urge Obama to bring us across the finish line with strong mercury standards. Nationally more than 900,000 public comments have demonstrated support for strong U.S. Environmental Protection Agency protections, while locally more than 1,000 postcards have been sent to the state calling for investments in cleaner alternatives. It is now up to Obama to finalize the standards and take a stand for the health of Ohio’s families. Strong national mercury standards would result in 120,000 asthma attacks avoided, 12,200 emergency room visits avoided and 4,500 cases of chronic bronchitis avoided.

Rashay Layman of the Sierra Club reiterated these sentiments saying, "two-thirds of all airborne mercury pollution in our state comes from these old, dirty coal plants. From asthma attacks to developmental disabilities, coal makes people sick. Ohio needs President Obama to get us across the finish-line on these long awaited standards."

For more information, contact Rashay Layman at rashay.layman@sierraclub.org, 614-461-0734 x 307 or Alistair Hall at Alistair@greencorps.org, 862-324-2141.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

An American flag waves in the wind at the Phillip Burton Federal Building in San Francisco, California on May 17 where a trial against Monsanto took place. Alva and Alberta Pilliod, were awarded more than $2 billion in damages in their lawsuit against Monsanto, though the judge in the case lowered the damage award to $87 million. JOSH EDELSON / AFP / Getty Images

By Carey Gillam

For the last five years, Chris Stevick has helped his wife Elaine in her battle against a vicious type of cancer that the couple believes was caused by Elaine's repeated use of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide around a California property the couple owned. Now the roles are reversed as Elaine must help Chris face his own cancer.

Read More Show Less
Butterfly habitats have fallen 77 percent in the last 50 years. Pixabay / Pexels

The last 50 years have been brutal for wildlife. Animals have lost their habitats and seen their numbers plummet. Now a new report from a British conservation group warns that habitat destruction and increased pesticide use has on a trajectory for an "insect apocalypse," which will have dire consequences for humans and all life on Earth, as The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Six of the nineteen wind turbines which were installed on Frodsham Marsh, near the coal-powered Fiddler's Ferry power station, in Helsby, England on Feb. 7, 2017.

Sales of electric cars are surging and the world is generating more and more power from renewable sources, but it is not enough to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to stop the global climate crisis, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Read More Show Less
"Globally, we're starting to see examples of retailers moving away from plastics and throwaway packaging, but not at the urgency and scale needed to address this crisis." Greenpeace

By Jake Johnson

A Greenpeace report released Tuesday uses a hypothetical "Smart Supermarket" that has done away with environmentally damaging single-use plastics to outline a possible future in which the world's oceans and communities are free of bags, bottles, packaging and other harmful plastic pollutants.

Read More Show Less
Children are forced to wear masks due to the toxic smoke from peat land fires in Indonesia. Aulia Erlangga / CIFOR

By Irene Banos Ruiz

Pediatricians in New Delhi, India, say children's lungs are no longer pink, but black.

Our warming planet is already impacting the health of the world's children and will shape the future of an entire generation if we fail to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius (35.6°F), the 2019 Lancet Countdown Report on health and climate change shows.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Private homes surround a 20 inch gas liquids pipeline which is part of the Mariner East II project on Oct. 5, 2017 in Marchwood, Penn. Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images

The FBI is looking into how the state of Pennsylvania granted permits for a controversial natural gas pipeline as part of a corruption investigation, the AP reports.

Read More Show Less
Three cows who were washed off their North Carolina island by Hurricane Dorian have been found alive after swimming at least two miles. Carolina Wild Ones / Facebook

Three cows who were washed off their North Carolina island by Hurricane Dorian have been found alive after swimming at least two miles, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
The Dakota Access pipeline being built in Iowa. Carl Wycoff / CC BY 2.0

The fight between the Standing Rock Sioux and the owners of the Dakota Access Pipeline is back on, as the tribe opposes a pipeline expansion that it argues would increase the risk of an oil spill.

Read More Show Less