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E-M:/ Michigan is a hotspot for mercury deposition - Reduce mercury pollution by 90% by 2013, protect your grandchildren.

Dear Michigan:


I’ve cobbled together references from several websites, my apologies for the length of this post – but it’s not a subject that can be covered in a couple paragraphs. 


Michigan is a hot spot for mercury deposition, methylmercury hurts fetuses, babies, little kids, teens, adults and old people -- please see EPA website URLs below for details on how each of us is at risk from mercury.  Please - call on Governor Granholm to reduce power plant mercury pollution, and cement kiln mercury pollution, by 90% by 2013.  Three other Great Lakes states are doing it, THE Great Lakes State must do it, too.  Protect your grandchildren and their grandchildren.   


From PIRGIM’s website:  


“On February 22nd, Pennsylvania's governor unveiled a plan to reduce power plant mercury emissions 80% in four years, and 90% by 2015. This comes on the heels of the January 5th announcement by Illinois' governor to require utilities in Illinois to reduce power plant mercury emissions by 90% by 2009, and a call by Minnesota's governor for legislation to cut mercury emissions in his state.

In all, three Great Lakes states have now called for 90% mercury reductions, while THE Great Lakes state - Michigan - has yet to see action. Three years into her term as governor, Jennifer Granholm has yet to follow through on her promise to cut mercury pollution in Michigan. PIRGIM is working to convince Governor Granholm to keep her promise, and reduce toxic mercury in 2006. Read our press release.”  

And here is a snippet from the Sierra Club’s Fact Sheet on Mercury:


“In March 2004, the FDA and EPA issued a joint warning to pregnant women, women who may become pregnant, and nursing mothers against eating certain types of mercury-laden fish.7 More importantly, in the United States, 45 states and territories have fish consumption warnings because of unsafe levels of mercury in at least some of their waters.8


“Hot spots” occur in locations where mercury deposition is high. The top “hot spot” states are: Michigan, Maryland, Florida, Illinois, South Carolina, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas.9 Even so, the EPA plan includes a cap-and-trade program that lets industry buy and sell the right to pollute. This may leave some communities at risk for greater mercury pollution than others”.

See the rest by clicking on the URL above. 


And this from EPA:  see http://www.epa.gov/mercury/effects.htm

Methylmercury effects

“For fetuses, infants, and children, the primary health effect of methylmercury is impaired neurological development. Methylmercury exposure in the womb, which can result from a mother's consumption of fish and shellfish that contain methylmercury, can adversely affect a baby's growing brain and nervous system. Impacts on cognitive thinking, memory, attention, language, and fine motor and visual spatial skills have been seen in children exposed to methylmercury in the womb. Recent human biological monitoring by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1999 and 2000 exit EPA(PDF 3 pp., 42 KB) shows that most people have blood mercury levels below a level associated with possible health effects. More recent data exit EPAfrom the CDC support this general finding.

Outbreaks of methylmercury poisonings have made it clear that adults, children, and developing fetuses are at risk from ingestion exposure to methylmercury. During these poisoning outbreaks some mothers with no symptoms of nervous system damage gave birth to infants with severe disabilities, it became clear that the developing nervous system of the fetus may be more vulnerable to methylmercury than is the adult nervous system.

For more information on fish consumption advisories across the country, visit EPA's fish consumption web pages.

In addition to the subtle impairments noted above, symptoms of methylmercury poisoning may include; impairment of the peripheral vision; disturbances in sensations ("pins and needles" feelings, usually in the hands, feet, and around the mouth); lack of coordination of movements; impairment of speech, hearing, walking; and muscle weakness. People concerned about their exposure to methylmercury should consult their physician.

Additional Information:

Additional information on the health effects of methylmercury is available from the IRIS database at http://www.epa.gov/iris/subst/0073.htm and EPA’s Methylmercury Water Quality Criterion Web site at http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/criteria/methylmercury/index.html. You can also visit the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) toxicological profile for mercury. exit EPA

And from the IRIS Database clickable above and below: 


Methylmercury (MeHg) (CASRN 22967-92-6)


Cardiovascular effects

There are two recently published studies show an association between low-level methylmercury exposure and cardiovascular effects. Sørensen et al. (1999) reported that in a study of 1,000 7-year-old Faroese children, diastolic and systolic blood pressures increased by 13.9 and 14.6 mm Hg, respectively, as the cord-blood mercury increased from 1 to 10 µg/L. They also reported a 47% decrease in heart rate variability (an indication of cardiac autonomic control) for the same increase in cord-blood mercury. Salonen et al. (1995) reported effects in adults from a study of 1,833 Finnish men. Over the 7-year observation period, men with hair mercury in the highest tertile (2 ppm or higher) had a 2.0 times greater risk of acute myocardial infarction than the rest of the study population.

Persistent and delayed neurotoxicity

Another area of concern is the onset or exacerbation of neurological deficits in aging populations previously exposed to methylmercury. In a follow-up study of the Minamata population, Kinjo et al. (1993) reported a high prevalence of sensory disturbance in people with Minamata disease (MD). Also evaluated were "acts of daily living" (ADL) that included the abilities to independently eat, bathe, wash, dress, and use the toilet. The prevalence of deficits was relatively greater in persons with MD compared with controls as a function of increasing age. In other words, exposure to methylmercury three decades earlier accelerated the aging process in aged individuals relative to younger ones. Fukuda et al. (1999) evaluated adults who lived in a methylmercury-polluted area near Minamata City in Japan's Kumamoto Prefecture but who were not designated MD patients; the authors then compared them with age-matched adults. Complaints that were significantly more frequent in methylmercury-contaminated areas included heart palpitation, dysesthesia, staggering when standing, resting and intention tremor in the hands, dizziness (especially when standing), low-tone tinnitus, low-pain sensation in hands and legs, and (among women only) loss of touch sensations in hands and legs.

Animal studies lend support to the conclusion that methylmercury can have delayed effects that are uncovered with age. Spyker (1975) identified neurological and immune impairment in mice exposed prenatally to methylmercury as they approached 1 year of age. Rats exposed to methylmercury in utero through 16 days of age exhibited a decline in performance in a task that required a substantial motor output at an earlier age than did control rats (Newland and Rasmussen, 2000). Rice and colleagues (Rice, 1998, 1989; Rice and Hayward, 1999) identified accelerated aging of sensory system function in a series of studies in monkeys exposed during development to methylmercury. All of these observations are consistent with a hypothesis that either developmental or adult exposure to methylmercury can have adverse long-term sequelae that may not be detected for years or decades following cessation of exposure. However, these effects cannot be quantified based on available data.”









Rita Jack

Water Sentinels Project

Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter

109 E. Grand River Ave.

Lansing, Michigan  48906

tel:  517-484-2372




Make all Michigan's waters fishable and swimmable.