Mercury is a potent neurotoxin. For a child or fetus, exposure to even a little of this toxic heavy metal can harm the brain and nervous system.
Coal-fired power plants account for nearly half the mercury emissions that pollute our waterways and find their way into our food chain. This happens when coal-fired power plants emit toxic mercury that then drifts though the air and rains down into our reservoirs, rivers, lakes, and the ocean.
Microorganisms in the water then convert that mercury into a highly toxic form called methylmercury. From here, fish absorb the methylmercury through their gills. Smaller species of fish, such as anchovies, sardines, or herring can only store limited amounts of contaminants, unlike the larger predatory fish who feed on them, like tuna.
The longer a fish lives, and the larger it is, the more contaminates accumulate. King mackerel, tilefish, grouper, halibut, Atlantic salmon, tuna, swordfish, shark, ray, barramundi, gemfish and orange roughy contain high levels of mercury.
Take a look at the diagram below, from momscleanairforce.org. Notice how the smaller contaminated fish are consumed by the larger fish, a major reason why the fish listed above are of the most concern.
What We Can Do
According to Consumer Reports, nearly a quarter of the seafood we buy may be mislabeled and contain methylmercury. You should investigate and find out the source of your seafood, especially when feeding it to your kids.
Author and mom Ayelet Waldman decided to take action when her child was almost permanently brain damaged after eating tuna contaminated with mercury. Watch her story:
The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule is one of the most important clean air regulations to ever come out of the EPA. It would reduce mercury, arsenic, acid gases, and other hazardous air pollution from America’s oldest and most polluting coal-fired power plants. The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards would prevent 17,000 premature deaths every year.
MCAF joins some of the most respected medical organizations in the world-the American Lung Association; the American Medical Association; the American Heart Association; the American Academy of Pediatricians; the American Nurses Association-to ensure our children have cleaner air, water, and food. For more information and to take action visit https://www.momscleanairforce.org/what-you-can-do/
Please also read Lisa Stone’s post on BlogHer.com “One-Minute Activism: How You Can Remove Poisons From Our Food and Air” and tell us why you joined Moms Clean Air Force. You could win an iPad 2 to use to continue taking action.