EPA’s New Mercury and Air Toxics Standard- Show your Support by sending a Comment Today!

(Photo © Flickr user mrjor (Joey Rozier), used with Creative Commons Liscense)

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.

What scared me most of all was that limits for pollutants like mercury, arsenic, acid gases, and other air toxics have never been set and that every year, coal-fired plants emit hundreds of thousands of tons of this stuff into the air we breathe every day.

Thankfully, the EPA recently proposed new standards that would limit up to 90% of harmful emissions by requiring power plants to install widely available, proven pollution control technologies and protect our health, our children, and our environment. To read more about the rule proposal, check out the EPA’s press release.

Polluters are definitely fighting this rule which is why we need to show the EPA that we support their tough new standards. Send a comment directly to the EPA urging them to protect people and wildlife from mercury poisoning using our simple change.org petition!

We also would like to hear your stories about your experiences with mercury and other pollution in your community. Do you have asthma from living near a coal plant? Are you no longer able to eat the fish you catch? Tell us your story by commenting on this blog below!

You have until August 5th to protect America’s health, wildlife, and economy by telling the Environmental Protection Agency you support strong limits on mercury and other toxic air emissions. Please take action today and send your comments to EPA!