House Committee Believes Mercury Risk Exaggerated

You may recall an article I posted last week about the frightening amount of mercury being released into the environment from chlorine plants -- five times more than the average power plant. But to many scientists and politicians, the poisoning of our environment thanks to mercury has been way "overstated."

That's according to a report to be issued today by the House Resources Committee in anticipation of new regulatory proposals from the Bush administration. The document claims there's no scientific link between mercury emissions from power plants and the subsequent poisoning of our world's fish supply. Even worse, the report suggests, "Scaring people away from consuming fish is creating a public health crisis in its own right."

Unbelievable! And there's more...

House Resources Committee chairman, Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), believes the mercury debate is being fueled by a vocal minority of special-interest groups "crying wolf." Also, the current administration disagrees with the Clinton administration's claims that mercury must be regulated as a hazardous substance and some 450 power plants purchase the necessary technology to control it.

The EPA's new solution: An industry-backed alternative that would allow individual plants to be permitted to meet their allowance by buying pollution rights from companies already in compliance. In other words, a shell game that moves the risk of mercury around...

This complete disregard for the public's safety contributes largely to the reasons why it is nearly impossible to find fish that is not contaminated with mercury, PCBs and dioxins. That is why I suggest avoiding fish unless you know it has been laboratory-tested and proven to be free from mercury and other toxins.

The typical rule of thumb when you consider eating fish: The larger the fish, the more mercury and PCBs it will have. Small fish like sardines, however, are typically mercury- and PCB-free.

Yahoo News February 16, 2005

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