Chlorine Plants Among the Largest Sources of Mercury

Nine U.S. chlorine factories located primarily in the Midwest and Southeast have been identified as some of the largest and "long overlooked" sources of mercury, according to a report issued by Oceana, an environmental group. So much so, those nine plants could be releasing as much, or more, mercury than the entire output of this nation's power companies COMBINED!

Although recent efforts to control emissions in the United States have largely been focused on coal-fired mercury plants, the chlorine industry, in addition to the Environmental Protection Agency, has admitted its sizable role in mercury pollution. That's very little consolation, considering these factories each reported emitting an average of almost 1,100 pounds of mercury into the air in 2002, FIVE TIMES the output of the average power plant, according to the report. In fact, eight of the nine plants rank among the nation's top 25 companies in reported mercury emissions.

Even scarier, the actual amount of mercury emissions could be much higher and is largely unknown because many tons are unaccounted for at the chlorine plants every year. No wonder most all fish are unsafe to eat anywhere.

The hidden health danger that's not discussed in the study: Chlorine is the primary chemical in the making of Splenda, the "sweet poison" that taints many processed foods.

Los Angeles Times January 26, 2005

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