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 Post subject: "The Public Should Have A Right-To-Know..."
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 8:51 pm 
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"The Public Should Have A Right-To-Know About the Most Dangerous Pollution of All
Currently, polluters don't have to report any releases of toxic chemicals if they don't manufacture 25,000 pounds of them or use 10,000 pounds of them annually. Since most of these exempted chemicals are low level by-products of industrial processes, releases almost never are reported to the public.

Overall, less than 9% of these toxic chemicals released into our air and water by industrial pollution were reported. This means the industry has very little incentive to reduce their pollution of these potentally lethal chemicals.

NET believs that the all releases of highly dangerous toxins must be reported to the public.

We can no longer treat these highly toxic, persistent, and body-accumulating chemicals like other industrial chemicals. The Environmental Protection Agency is considering asking polluters to report their emissions if they produce or use as little as 10 pounds of these substances. That sounds like a significant step forward, but consider:



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MERCURY

A coal-fired industrial boiler or power plant would have to consume 90,000 tons of coal to emit 10 pounds of mercury. Approximately half of the industrial boilers and a good many power plants (the nation's largest source of mercury) would still be exempt from reporting and could legally hide their pollution from the public.
Hundreds of oil refineries, paper mills, chemical plants, incinerators, and other industrial facilities in communities across the country will enjoy similar exemptions. They will also be able to continue to hide their pollution from the public.
Industrial processes such as coal combustion, chlorine processing, waste incineration, and metal processing are releasing mercury into the environment in dangerous quantities.
Emissions of mercury into the atmosphere contaminate not just the air but also water bodies that the pollution settles upon. Because of this pollution of lakes and rivers, mercury is responsible for most of the fish advisories in the United States:
- Thirteen states have issued advisories declaring fish in every lake in their state unsafe to eat.
- 40% of Americans are eating fish contaminated with unsafe levels of mercury.
- A single can of tuna fish contains mercury exceeding EPA's recommended safe level for adults.
- A fraction of a teaspoon of mercury can contaminate a 25 acre lake to the extent that the fish are too toxic to eat. Children and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to mercury-contaminated fish because even very small amounts of mercury can cause severe neurological damage to the child.
Humans are generally exposed to mercury through eating contaminated fish although mercury can also be breathed through the air. Mercury poisoning causes a variety of health problems including nervous system damage, kidney damage, and developmental effects. Children born to women with high levels of mercury have exhibited mental retardation, blindness, and cerebral palsy.
Under the current right-to-know law, only 8% of mercury emissions are reported to the federal Toxics Release Inventory.


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LEAD
Lead is used in a variety of consumer products including plumbing and electrical and electronic components. Most lead emissions are released into the environment through lead smelting, waste incineration, and fuel burning. Although lead emissions have dropped since its removal from gasoline, the EPA estimates that 3,943 tons were released into the air in 1995.
Lead in air attaches to dust and can be carried for long distances. It is usually found in the upper level of soils, and heavy rains can wash it into river and lakes. Breathing lead dust, and exposure to contaminated soil and water are the most common sources of human lead poisoning.
Since children spend a lot of time playing near the ground and engage in a lot of hand-to-mouth activity, they are usually exposed to higher levels of lead than adults. Even at low levels, childhood lead exposure can cause learning disabilities, delays in normal physical and mental development, and deficits in hearing. Prolonged exposure to lead has been linked to human cerebrovascular, kidney, reproductive, and neurological disease. Exposure to lead by pregnant women can cause premature birth, low birth weight, or miscarriages. Certain compounds of lead can also cause cancer.
Only 35% of industrial lead air emissions are reported every year to the federal Toxics Release Inventory.


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DIOXINS, PCBs, AND SIMILAR COMPOUNDS

Dioxins and their effects on public health became infamous in the late 1970s when the community of Love Canal, New York, was evacuated after dioxins leaked through storage barrels and contaminated the entire community.
Dioxins accumulate in the body and cause cancer, reproductive problems, and immune system damage. They are also considered to be endocrine disruptors, compounds that mimic human hormones affecting the development of fetuses and small children. Fetal exposure can damage the reproductive and immune systems as well as disrupt learning and behavior.
Dioxin-like compounds–mainly PCBs and furans–are similar in chemical make-up, toxicity, and their effects on human health. The main source of dioxin-like emissions are combustion sources such as waste incinerators, paper mills, and chemical manufacturing facilities.
Dioxin-like compounds have been found throughout the world in air, soil, water, sediment, fish, wildlife, meat, and dairy products. The main pathway of dioxin and PCB exposure is through the food we eat. These compounds bind to fat and virtually all animals, including humans, have them in their bodies.
Just one gram of dioxins, the weight of a single M&M candy, could expose up to a million people to a toxic dose. U.S. industry emits about 50 grams of dioxins into the environment every year.
Scientists have found PCBs in arctic polar bears and seals, and high levels of dioxins have been discovered in the bodies of arctic natives who haved lived their entire lives thousands of miles away from any source of dioxin pollution.


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HEXACHLOROBENZENE
Although there are currently no direct commercial uses of HCB in the United States, it is still commonly produced as a byproduct of chemical production and as a contaminant in many pesticides. Common releases of HCB are from coal combustion, discharges from chemical manufacturing processes, and applications of pesticides that include HCB as a contaminant.
HCB builds up in the food chain, including plants such as wheat and vegetables. Humans are exposed mostly through eating low levels of HCB in contaminated foods.
HCB causes liver, kidney, neurological, and immune system damage, as well as cancer. HCB is thought to be an endocrine disruptor, compounds that mimic human hormones affecting the development of fetuses and small children. It is also associated with reduced growth and arthritic changes in limbs of children who are exposed to HCB, either directly or through breast milk.
Only 5% of industrial HCB air emissions are reported every year to the federal Toxics Release Inventory.


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PAHs
PAHs are byproducts of incomplete burning, found as contaminants (such as coal tar and wood-treating residues), or are used in certain products (such as dyes, plastics, and pesticides). PAHs, unlike most dangerous toxics, have large natural sources including wildfires and volcanos. Man-made activities, however, are greatly increasing PAH releases.
PAHs are found far from their sources and are thought to be capable of traveling long distances through the air.
The level of PAHs in urban air is 10 times higher than the air levels in rural areas. PAHs also bind to soil and levels in normal urban environments may be well above the level determined to be potentially dangerous to human health.
Humans are exposed to PAHs through contaminated air and water and smoking tobacco. High levels of PAHs can cause red blood cell damage and suppress the immune system. Smaller, more frequent doses can cause developmental and reproductive effects. Animal testing has shown that PAHs can be carcinogens and can reduce the fertility of the exposed individual as well as their offspring.
Only 3% of industrial PAH emissions are reported every year to the federal Toxics Release Inventory.


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TRIAZINE HERBICIDES
The triazine herbicides (atrazine, simazine, cyanazine, propazine, and others) are a set of related compounds that can be used to some degree interchangeably and have similar adverse health effects. Atrazine is the second most widely used agricultural pesticide in the U.S. (21 million pounds used each year), and cyanazine is in the top five (9 million pounds used each year).
The herbicides are very mobile in the soil and with heavy rains can wash into nearby water bodies. They are commonly found in drinking water in the spring and summer in U.S. Midwest farming areas. Atrazine was the second most frequently detected pesticide in a survey of drinking water wells.
The EPA has determined that triazine herbicides may pose significant risks of cancer to people who are exposed to high levels of them through residues in food and water and to people who apply them. Atrazine can cause cardiovascular damage and retinal and muscular degeneration from chronic high exposure. There may also be a correlation between high atrazine exposure and heart and limb birth defects. It is also suspected that triazine herbicides are endocrine disruptors, compounds that mimic human hormones affecting the development of fetuses and small children.
Public reporting gives us critical information about toxic chemicals that each of us comes into contact with every day and it encourages industry to reduce those emissions. We can no longer afford to be ignorant of the effects of these toxic substances or their prevalence in our environment. To protect our health we must to close the loophole in America's right-to-know law and demand that the presence of the most dangerous toxins in our communities be reported in any amount.

Please, write to the Administrator of the EPA, Christine Todd Whitman, and demand that the EPA require reporting for ALL toxic chemicals that persist in the environment and build up in our bodies. Because what we don't know CAN hurt us!

Letters should be addressed to:

Christine Todd Whitman, Administrator
The Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20460
"

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 Post subject: There should be ZERO TOLERANCE OF MERCURY !
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 8:54 pm 
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There should be ZERO TOLERANCE OF MERCURY !

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 10:26 am 
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Very informative thread. Thank you so much for posting it!

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