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Fight to Keep Mercury and Toxic Air Standards

By Fredrica Syren:

It’s a new year and new fights for a healthy planet, beginning with a major one, are on the horizon. The U.S. Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA) acting administrator, Andrew Wheeler, has announced that the EPA will start to relax the rules for mercury and air toxins standards. Mercury and Air Toxin Standards (MATS) were the very first federal standards issued in 2011 that required power plants to limit their release of toxic gasses. Before MATS went into effect, the coal industry was the biggest mercury polluter. These standards have made a huge difference and, since 2011, emissions from the coal industry have decreased by 85%. It is estimated that 11,000 lives will be saved each year, thanks to MATS.

In the U.S., mercury pollutes air, food and water; and the majority of people exposed to mercury are exposed through consumption of fish and other seafood. Mercury,a type of toxic metal,has serious negative effects on human health. It can harm major organs: brain, kidneys, heart, lungs — even the immune system. Women and children are most vulnerable to mercury exposure in their bloodstreams. High levels of mercury exposure may harm a developing fetus’s nervous systems through the mom’s placenta.

Here some facts about mercury pollution in the U.S.:

  • Coal fired power plants count for almost 1/3 of all mercury air pollution in the U.S.
  • Since 2012, mercury standards have helped to dramatically lower mercury emissions from coal plants.
  • Every state in the U.S. has issued warnings about the existence of mercury in fish.
  • Even trace amounts of mercury can contaminate a very large area.

The mercury-related benefits of The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards outweigh the costs of the standards because it isa lifesaving and effective pollution prevention program that specifically protects pregnant women and babies from harm.

So, what can you do?

Mom’s clean air forceis one of my favorite organizations. They are fighting for The Mercury and Air Toxic standards (MATS). You can find out ways to help by going to their website.

About Green Mom

Fredrica Syren, the author and founder of Green-Mom.com, was born in Sweden. Her mother was a classically trained chef who introduced her to many eclectic flavors and skills at a young age. Her mom’s passion for the outdoors and gardening planted the seed for her own love of nature and healthy eating. She received a degree in journalism and has worked as a print, Internet and broadcasting journalist for many years with big businesses within Europe and the United States. After her mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she with pre-cancer, Fredrica changed her career to become a full time yoga teacher and activist. A longtime world traveler, foodie and career woman, she was exposed to many facets of life, but nothing inspired her more than becoming a mom. After her first-born, Fredrica began a food blog focusing on local, seasonal, organic & vegetarian dishes. Years of food blogging developed into the cookbook Yummy in My Tummy, Healthy Cooking for the Whole Family. Upon the arrival of her second child, Fredrica founded Green-Mom.com. Her vision was to establish a site providing insight about gardening, home and personal care, baby & child, and of course food & nutrition. Green-Mom.com hosts many talented writers shedding light on ways to incorporate eco-friendly and nutritious practices for busy families. She is an advocate for organic, local and sustainable businesses. Fredrica hopes to inspire social change through her lifestyle, passion and business. Fredrica lives with her husband James Harker-Syren and their three children in San Diego, CA.

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