Mercury emission from coal burning are concentrated as they work their way up the food chain and are converted into methylmercury, a toxic compound which harms both wildlife and people who consume freshwater fish. Coal burning is a key source of methylmercury in the environment. "Power plants... are responsible for half of... the mercury emissions in the United States."
In New York State winds bring mercury from the coal-fired power plants of the Midwest, contaminating the waters of the Catskill Mountains. The mercury is consumed by worms, which are eaten by fish, which are eaten by birds (including bald eagles). As of 2008, mercury levels in bald eagles in the Catskills had reached new heights. "People are exposed to methylmercury almost entirely by eating contaminated fish and wildlife that are at the top of aquatic food chains." Ocean fish account for the majority of human exposure to methylmercury; the full range of sources of methylmercury in ocean fish is not well understood.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency has proposed the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) regulations, which require all coal plants use the technology which is available to substantially reduce mercury emissions. "Today, more than half of all coal-fired power plants already deploy pollution control technologies that will help them meet these achievable standards. Once final, these standards will level the playing field by ensuring the remaining plants – about 40 percent of all coal fired power plants - take similar steps to decrease dangerous pollutants." This technology is expected to save many thousands of lives every year, and to protect Americans from severe permanent health effects such as those suffered by children exposed to mercury in the womb.
Other articles related to "mercury emissions, mercury, emissions":
... with the limestone itself) is a major source of mercury emissions ... plant is responsible for 29% of total Bay Area airborne mercury emissions and was shown to impact a rural site, Calero Reservoir, 20 miles (32 km) away ... Mercury, a neurotoxin and pollutant which is concentrated in the aquatic food web, was found to be 5.8 to 6.7 times higher in precipitation near the cement ...
... the Clean Air Act to further reduce air pollution and expanded the emissions trading programs to include new pollutants such as mercury ... The goal of the initiative was to reduce the sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury emissions of power plants over the course of 15 years, while saving consumers millions of dollars ... Among other things, the Clear Skies Act states that it would Cut mercury emissions by 69 percent, - the first-ever national cap on mercury emissions ...
... Preindustrial deposition rates of mercury from the atmosphere may be about 4 ng /(1 L of ice deposit) ... for approximately half of atmospheric mercury emissions ... mercury emissions in 1999) ...
Famous quotes containing the word mercury:
“The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day.
What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.”
—W.H. (Wystan Hugh)