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New Hampshire Determined to Limit Mercury Emissions, Despite Federal Stalling

Friday, February 11, 2005

With the Bush administration dragging its heels on limiting mercury emissions from power plants, concerned New Hampshire citizens are calling for legislation independent of federal regulations, the New Hampshire Union Leader reports. A new bill in the state Senate requires an 80 percent reduction in mercury emissions in eight years, as well as a cap on carbon dioxide.

New Hampshire’s clean-up efforts come in response to a federal proposal allowing a cap-and-trade for mercury emissions that was expected in December, but delayed. Conservationists will likely challenge the rule in court if it’s enacted, but nothing can be done until then, conveniently leaving mercury up in the air — and continuing to seep into our water.

New Hampshire and a coalition of other Northeastern states on the receiving end of pollution from power plants in the West want plants held to the emissions standards of the Clean Air Act, which requires them to install pollution reduction equipment. Other bills in the state legislature deal with banning mercury in landfills and consumer goods.

The Environmental Working Group performed a year-long study that found a signature metabolic link between mercury and autism. The group has also studied mercury in seafood, finding dangerous levels in several types of fish, particularly canned albacore tuna.

Mercury exposure causes neurological and developmental problems in children, but kids and pregnant mothers aren’t the only ones who should limit their consumption. A new Finnish study found that eating fish with high mercury levels puts middle-aged men at greater risk for heart attack and stroke.

View EWG’s studies on mercury and autism, mercury in seafood, and mercury pollution from coal-burning power plants.

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