Friday, December 28, 2018

There's widespread mercury pollution in WI. Trump would add to it.

Trump wants to make it easier for coal-fired plants in the US to belch out more mercury 
Smoke stacks from a factory.
which will add more of that terrifying toxin to the water we drink and the fish we eat.

Even the pro-industry managers in clean-air opponent Scott Walker's DNR have posted warnings about mercury contamination and fish consumption:
Health impactsIndividuals exposed to mercury are most likely exposed to the organic species of this chemical (e.g., methylmercury). Human health effects associated with methylmercury include severe neurological disorders in infants exposed during pregnancy. Children exposed to mercury may suffer from developmental problems and damage to the kidneys and digestive system. The nervous system is very sensitive to all forms of mercury. Symptoms include irritability, shyness, tremors, changes in vision or hearing and memory problems. 
Exposure to the vapors can cause effects such as lung damage, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, increases in blood pressure or heart rate, skin rashes and eye irritation. 
Bioaccumulation and biomagnification 
Mercury is particularly toxic to living organisms because it bioaccumulates. Bioaccumulation is the process by which organisms take up a contaminant more rapidly than their bodies can eliminate it. Thus, mercury accumulates in the body over time. If mercury is continually ingested it can build up to toxic levels.Mercury becomes even more hazardous to organisms higher in the food chain because it biomagnifies. 
Biomagnification is the incremental increase in a contaminant's concentration at each level of the food chain. For example, humans eat large fish, which eat lots of small fish, which eat lots of plants. Mercury bioaccumulates in every organism along the way, and the human will ingest all of the mercury accumulated during each step. 
Eating fish 
Although some human exposure to mercury is short-term due to mercury-containing equipment breakage and spills (acute exposure), most human exposure occurs through regular consumption of fish contaminated with methylmercury (chronic exposure). Wisconsin has issued a statewide fish consumption advisory for all inland waters due to mercury contamination.
Earlier this year, I posted information which is still on a US EPA website about the extent of waterway impairment in Wisconsin as of 2016, including impairment caused by mercury, and I noted this at the time.
I was struck by the persistent presence of mercury and the growth of phosphorous contamination in the few categories I pulled out - - the latter not surprising because under Walker the state relaxed the time frame in which phosphorous discharges were to be addressed.
Here are some of the key data about known mercury contamination in Wisconsin - - and since we know what goes out of smokestacks comes down - - so you have to ask yourself in light of Trump's support for making it more likely that these and other numbers nationally will go up: Isn't this enough?

, Rivers and streams, Mercury.

Great Lakes Shorelines, miles, 259.4.

Lakes, reservoirs and ponds acres, 284,275.

Bays and estuaries, Square miles, 6,067.


The Journal Sentinel carried an AP story on the Trump rule rollback which puts it this way; how do you feel about it? Are you worth it? Is your kid?
The Trump administration on Friday targeted an Obama-era regulation credited with helping dramatically reduce toxic mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants, with officialssaying human health and environmental benefits may not be worth the cost of the regulation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's even more widespread Koch and out-of-state corporate billionaire pollution which results in the mercury and other toxic substances being dumped in our environment. Then there's all the dirty Russian money that was laundered through the NRA to Scott Walker and then directly to top repubublicans and Trump.

Fortunately, we are projected to see some relief from the Walker contamination, but please don't fool yourself into thinking it has been eradicated. The foul Wisconsin right-wing media is determined to bring the Walker toxins back.

Because the stench of GOP & Trump hang over the state and nation, the prospect for a cleaner environment is not good.