It appears as though the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is out to scare people who live around the Great Lakes.
The local newspapers have grabbed hold of the story. Here is the leading paragraph from the Port Clinton newspaper: “Lake Erie has more mercury pollution from coal-fired plants than the rest of the Great Lakes, a study shows.”
The study, of course, came from the NRDC. The newspapers in Ohio are, unfortunately, parroting what the NRDC says, regardless of the facts.
It’s difficult to categorize the NRDC, except to say, they seem to be against anything that can generate electricity and provide energy and jobs for Americans.
Thomas Cmar, NRDC attorney. “Mercury is a dangerous poison that doesn’t belong in our Great Lakes.”
Mercury is toxic, however, natural sources of mercury far outweigh the small amounts, proportionally, that come from coal-fired power plants.
Global emissions of mercury are 9,100 tons per year, of which at least half come from natural sources – not anthropogenic sources. Compare this to mercury emissions from U.S. coal-fired power plants of 41 tons per year across the entire United States, not just the Great Lakes.
Epidemiologic studies have shown there is very little danger from eating fish, even tuna that have a propensity for absorbing mercury.
Here is how John Middaugh, State Epidemiologist of Alaska, warned the FDA:
“Advisories based upon risk assessment without consideration of well-established public health benefits of fish consumption have great potential to harm public health if reductions in fish consumption occur.”
The evidence suggests that the health threat from mercury has been overblown.
Test results of 1,709 women in the U.S. of childbearing age showed that 92% had mercury levels falling below the EPA’s reference dose (RfD) of 5.8 ppb, which is 14 times lower than the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) 83 ppb, the point at which WHO believes there is a health risk.
If the health risks from mercury are overblown, and the amount of mercury emitted by coal-fired power plants is very small, shouldn’t the NRDC stop scaring people?
They won’t, because they have an agenda that is anti-energy.
An earlier article, Mercury Reality, showed how the United States Geological Survey (USGS) established that mercury deposited on land from all sources were many times below the safety standard OSHA has established for mercury in the workplace.
The USGS study demonstrates that the NRDC is pursuing a scare strategy to eliminate coal-fired power plants when there is no legitimate scientific reason to do so because of mercury.
It’s difficult to understand why the NRDC, the Sierra Club and others are attempting to strangle energy production in the United States.
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