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earlier burfling | later burfling

Mercury rising, alas

Today's Boston Globe has a story about mercury hotspots in New England and Canada.
For years, scientists and public policy makers have focused on mercury that is emitted from power plants and incinerators and falls into lakes and ponds, where it is easily converted into its toxic form when it interacts with bacteria in freshwater sediment. Across the region, pregnant woman and children have been warned not to eat many freshwater fish because the creatures can pass on the mercury concentrated in their flesh.

But today's report indicates that the same type of toxic conversion may be happening on mountaintops and forests, with mercury falling out of the sky onto tree leaves and then dropping onto the moist forest floor.

Dealing with this sort of pollution will certainly require action at the U.S. Federal level, since most of the coal-fired power plants in question are upwind of the New England states. Unfortunately, given the Bush Administration's history, the odds of it happening any time soon are, frankly, on the poor side of the slim-to-none range.

Hopefully, jhetley's Summer Country doesn't have this particular problem.