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E-M:/ EPA Mercury Release
Enviro-Mich message from firstname.lastname@example.org
Because of the importances of the mercury contamination
issue in Michigan and the Great Lakes Region, I am forwarding this EPA news
release concerning the report to Congress on this
From: GROUP PRESS 202-260-4355 <PRESS@epamail.epa.gov>
To: Multiple recipients of list <email@example.com>
Subject: PR MERCURY RELEASE
X-Listprocessor-Version: 6.0c -- ListProcessor by Anastasios Kotsikonas
X-Comment: U.S. EPA Press Releases
!PR/EPA RELEASES MERCURY REPORT/SCROLL
FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19, 1997
EPA RELEASES MERCURY REPORT
EPA today released a Congressionally-required eight-volume
technical report evaluating air emissions of mercury, and the human
health and environmental impacts of these emissions.
The report is a multi-year effort that represents a full
scientific assessment of the health and environmental effects of
mercury. The report makes no regulatory or policy recommendations.
The new report affirms the guidance on safe levels of mercury
which EPA has had in place since 1995.
The publication, "Mercury Study Report to Congress," was required
by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. It estimates that all U.S.
industrial sources combined emitted about 159 tons of mercury into the
air in 1995. Major sources of mercury air emissions are electric
utilities, municipal waste combustors, commercial and industrial
boilers, medical waste incinerators, and chlor-alkali plants.
"This report has been subjected to extensive peer review by
independent scientists and health experts," said EPA Administrator
Carol M. Browner. "It reflects the current science about mercury in
our environment today. EPA has already has taken a series of
actions to reduce emissions of mercury into the environment 50 percent
by 2006. This report will help us assess the need for additional
actions to ensure that public health and the environment are
Mercury is a heavy metal that, with high exposure, can cause
developmental neurotoxicity in humans, especially developing fetuses.
High exposure can result in delay of walking and talking in children,
as well as lower scores on nervous system function tests. It is of
particular concern because it persists in the environment. Mercury
emissions to the atmosphere can end up in waterways as a result of
rainfall and runoff. Mercury then can enter the "food web" and build
up as methyl mercury in the tissues of predatory fish that feed on
contaminated smaller fish.
The greatest exposure of humans to mercury is for those
subsistence fishers and others who regularly eat large amounts of
non-commercial fish from mercury-polluted waters. Women of child-
bearing age in this group should pay careful attention to the state
advisories that warn people against eating fish caught in mercury-
polluted waters. Thirty nine states issued mercury fish advisories
for non-commercial fishing in 1997.
The levels of mercury encountered in commercial fish are
generally low. Therefore the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
and EPA advise consumers that it is safe to eat fish and other seafood
from grocery stores and restaurants. (Specific questions on the
safety of commercial seafood should be directed to the FDA Washington
Press Office at 202-205-4144).
EPA has already taken steps to reduce mercury emissions from
three significant industry sources nationwide. In October 1995, the
Agency issued final regulations cutting mercury emissions by 90
percent from municipal waste combustors; in April 1996, EPA proposed
a rule --- scheduled to go final in late 1998 -- that will
significantly reduce mercury emissions from hazardous waste combustion
facilities; and in August 1997, the Agency announced a final
rulemaking which will reduce mercury emissions 94 percent from
medical waste incinerators.
These rules will significantly reduce mercury emissions when fully
implemented by the states.
Administrator Browner and top agency managers are now assessing
any need for enhanced research on health effects; research on new
pollution control technologies; community right-to-know approaches;
and additional regulatory actions. EPA will fully consult with the
public as part of its assessment.
The study released today was reviewed and approved by consensus
by EPA's Science Advisory Board. Other scientific experts outside EPA
also provided peer-review, and their comments were incorporated into
the report. The publication also contains substantial input from
other major stakeholders, including industry groups, the general
public, and state, local and federal government agencies, including
the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Energy, the
Department Of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, the
Centers for Disease Control, the National Institute of Environmental
Health Sciences, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry,
and the National Marine Fisheries Service.
The executive summary of the report will be computer-accessible
on the Internet at the following address
Copies of the entire mercury study will be available from the
National Technical Information Service (NTIS) in several weeks. No
report number is available yet. Check the above internet address for
For specific state fish and wildlife advisory information for
local waters, the general public can call state government agencies,
which in most cases are listed as state health departments. To get
the phone numbers of these departments, people should call "411" or
look in the Blue Pages of their phone book. The advisories are also
available -- in most cases -- in state fishing regulation booklets,
which anglers receive when they purchase fishing licenses. In
addition, the database is available for downloading from the Internet
For further technical information on the study, contact Martha
Keating of EPA's Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards at 919-
R-175 # # #
Alex J. Sagady & Associates Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Environmental Consulting and Database Systems
PO Box 39 East Lansing, MI 48826-0039
(517) 332-6971 (voice); (517) 332-8987 (fax)
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