Monday, January 7, 2008

DHEC to Consider Human Testing for Mercury

From yesterday's edition of The State

State health officials will discuss testing mercury levels in people as concerns about growing levels of the pollutant in state waters has led to warning signs at boat landings in South Carolina.

The state Department of Health and Environmental Control has warned people not to eat certain species of fish found in parts of South Carolina’s rivers, mostly along the coast, because of contamination with mercury, a byproduct of coal-fired power plants, factories and natural sources.

The neurotoxin that has been linked to birth defects, heart failure and other health problems ends up in rivers, lakes and streams where it builds up in fish over time. Mercury is particularly dangerous for expectant mothers and young children.

A recent series of stories by The (Charleston) Post and Courier identified people who eat fish from several South Carolina rivers who also have high levels of mercury in their bodies. The newspaper ran tests on the people through hair samples.

Read more in the Post and Courier and the Myrtle Beach Sun News. If DHEC is coming around to the idea that mercury pollution is so bad in South Carolina that people need testing, maybe its not such a good idea to add a bunch more mercury to our lives by building a coal plant...

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