Clean Air, Healthy Families
New air pollution standards will cut mercury pollution by 90% and save 46,000 lives each year. The coal industry and their friends in Congress are trying to roll back these standards, but we’re urging Congress to let the EPA do its job and move forward with its commonsense plan to protect public health.
Toxic air pollution threatens our health
More than half of all Americans live in places with unsafe levels of air pollution, which causes heart attacks, asthma attacks, emergency room visits, hospital admissions and even deaths year.
Studies show that 1 in 10 women of childbearing age has enough mercury in her bloodstream to put her child at risk of health effects should she become pregnant. This means that more than 689,000 out of the 4.1 million babies born every year could be exposed to dangerous levels of mercury.
The consequences are serious: Children who are exposed to even low-dosage levels of mercury in the womb can have impaired brain functions, including verbal, attention, motor-control and language deficits, as well as lower IQs. When these children are monitored at ages 7 and 14, these impairments still exist — suggesting that the damage caused by mercury may be irreversible.
3,781 bodies of water contaminated nationwide
Coal-fired power plants spew hundreds of thousands of pounds of toxic mercury into our air every year, which falls to earth in the form of rain and contaminates rivers, lakes and streams.
And it doesn’t take much mercury to have a big impact on our health. Scientists found that a single gram of mercury can contaminate an entire 20-acre lake.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, mercury impairs 3,781 bodies of water across the country, and 6,363,707 acres of lakes, reservoirs, and ponds in the United States are contaminated by mercury pollution.
Here in Rhode Island, the threat of mercury contamination led the Department of Health to recommend against eating fish caught from Yawgoog Pond, Windcheck Pond, Meadowbrook Pond, Quidnick Reservoir, the lower Woonasquatucket River and the Blackstone River.
With your help, we can save 46,000 lives
Recently, the EPA moved ahead with efforts to significantly reduce mercury, soot and smog pollution, announcing historic new emissions standards that combined could save 46,000 lives a year. Unfortunately, polluters and their allies in Congress launched a coordinated attack to block these critical safeguards.
We’re working closely with our allies in the public health community, lobbying key senators, and rallying thousands of activists stand up for public health.
It won’t be easy, but if enough of us speak out, we can drown out the coal industry lobbyists and make sure that the EPA is allowed to do its job and protect public health.
Thank President Obama for protecting us from mercury pollution.
- New air pollution standards will save 46,000 lives.
- Right now, mercury pollution puts 1 in 10 women of childbearing age at risk.
- Together with our allies, we delivered more than 800,000 comments to the EPA in support of a strong mercury standard. The EPA received roughly 907,000 comments on the standard—more than any other EPA standard in history—and the vast majority of the comments were in support of a strong standard.
- In December 2011, the Obama administration responded to this show of support by announcing the first-ever nationwide standards for mercury pollution from power plants. This followed the July 2011 announcement of new standards for smog and soot pollution for power plants in the central and eastern regions of the United States.