|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
JUNE 29, 2004
|CONTACT: Sierra Club
Wendy Balazik, 202-675-2383
End of Mercury Comment Period: More Than Half a Million Americans Demand the Bush Administration Protect Expectant Mothers from Mercury Pollution
WASHINGTON - June 29 - STATEMENT OF DEBBIE BOGER, SIERRA CLUB'S DEPUTY LEGISLATIVE DIRECTOR
"I am one of more than half a million Americans who asked the Bush administration to protect us from mercury pollution. As an expectant mom, I want to do what's best for my health and my baby's health. I used to eat a fair amount of tuna because I like it and it's a good source of protein and other important nutrients. That's why I was concerned when I learned about the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) warning for pregnant women, nursing moms, and women of childbearing age to limit their intake of mercury-laden fish like tuna and other fish species. The last thing I want to do is put my baby at risk from neurological and learning disorders that have been linked to mercury pollution.
"The EPA and FDA aren't the only agencies warning Americans about mercury pollution. Forty-five states and territories have fish consumption advisories based on the high levels of mercury in their waterways. Still, in spite of the EPA and FDA's warning, the Bush administration proposed a plan that would permit polluters to spew at least three times more mercury pollution than enforcement of the Clean Air Act allows-for decades longer.
"According to the EPA, approximately 600,000 infants are born each year with blood mercury levels higher than what it considers safe. What's more, after these infants are born, they remain especially susceptible to the neurological effects of mercury because their brains are developing so rapidly. That's scary, and I want my government to protect my family from these types of dangers. The Bush administration is proposing to make the problem worse.
"Why isn't the Bush administration doing more to protect us from poisonous mercury? Right now, we have the technology to reduce mercury pollution by 90% or more by 2008, according to EPA's own estimates. All we need is for the Bush administration to enforce the laws already on the books.
"Why is the Bush administration doing more for its friends in the utility industry than it is doing for me and my baby? It's clear that polluting industries had a hand in writing the administration's mercury plan. The Bush administration's mercury proposal duplicates language from a 2003 report written by West Associates, an industry organization representing 23 large Western utility companies.
"There is a better way. We know how to get the mercury out of our air and water and off our dinner tables. It's time for the Bush administration to listen to all Americans who want to protect moms and kids, not polluting industries."