This piece was cross-posted at Non-Toxic Kids.
We’ve been talking about mercury for a long time here on Non-Toxic Kids. We read and are told to avoid certain fish when pregnant, because of the dangerous effects of mercury on developing fetuses.
Mercury bioaccumulates and is often highest in concentration in certain fish at the top of the food chain. I’ve often referred my fish eating mama friends to this safer fish list, and have posted about finding safer seafood here. Because of environmental problems, and problems with safety, I advocate eating only wild fish (not farmed), or no fish at all.
Right now, we are poised to significantly lessen the exposures of pregnant mothers, babies, and families to the mercury in air pollution. This is a critical time in our nation’s history, our chance to make the air cleaner, safer, and healthier for our families– and some folks in Congress are trying to put a stop to it.
Why be concerned about mercury, even if you are not pregnant? Mercury is one of the most toxic poisons known to science. Even trace amounts of it, once ingested, can cause a long list of serious health threats.
Yet, according to the Environmental Defense Fund, over 12,000 pounds of mercury were emitted from America’s top 100 cement plants in 2006 alone.
Right now, mercury pollution negatively effects the health and wellbeing of our babies. Each year, over 400,000 newborns in the United States are exposed to mercury levels that can:
*Damage brain development
*Cause learning disabilities
*Result in language disorders and memory problems
*Impair vision and hearing; and many other harmful effects
*Adult exposure to mercury is associated with heart disease and other cardiovascular illnesses
This is completely unacceptable. Babies are being born pre-polluted with industrial chemicals, including mercury, that can have long term and devastating effects their lives (and their lives of their families). We must do all we can to help our children have the best start, the healthiest start, to life.