EPA Issues First-Ever Protections against Toxic Mercury

Measure will protect Minnesota women and children from dangerous brain poison

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the first-ever federal protections against toxic mercury from power plants, including those in Minnesota. Mercury is a dangerous brain poison that poses a particular threat to prenatal babies and young children. Exposure in the bloodstreams of pregnant and nursing women can result in birth defects like learning disabilities, lowered IQ, deafness, blindness and cerebral palsy.

Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of mercury pollution in the United States, pumping more than 33 tons of this dangerous toxin into our air each year. Once in the air, mercury rains down and accumulates in the bodies of fish and shellfish. If people eat fish or seafood from polluted bodies of water, mercury accumulates in their bodies and can be passed from mother to child. Over 3,000 Sierra Club supporters in Minnesota submitted comments in support of a strong mercury rule.

Each year, more than 300,000 American babies are born exposed to dangerous levels of mercury. Now, after decades of delay, we have the first-ever nationwide protections against this toxic pollutant. These strong, sensible safeguards will slash mercury pollution from power plants by more than 90 percent and improve the air quality for millions of Americans in Minnesota and across the country.

Sierra Club Intern Joey Cronick put together this thank you video from happy Minnesotans thanking the EPA for protecting the public from toxic mercury:

For more information visit www.sierraclub.org/mercury.

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