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Earthjustice/EIP Report: Dangerous Mercury Pollution From Unregulated Cement Kilns in U.S. About Twice as High as Levels Previously Projected by EPA
Date:7/23/2008

EPA Ignored Problem For 10+ Years Even Though Some Kilns Emit More Mercury Than Power Plants; Report Focuses on Cement Kilns in AL, CA, IA, IL, MD, MI, MT, NY, OR, SC, TX and WA.

WASHINGTON, July 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For more than a decade after Congress told it to curb dangerous mercury pollution from cement kilns across the nation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) refused to take action. Now, a new study from Earthjustice and the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) documents the consequences of the EPA's failure: Cement kilns emit mercury pollution -- a threat to the health of pregnant women and children -- at more than twice the level estimated as recently as 2006 by the EPA, which only started to collect data on the problem in 2007.

The unregulated pollution from cement kilns is emitted in or nearby many major U.S. urban areas and also within a few miles of such major bodies of water as the Chesapeake Bay, Lake Huron and the San Francisco Bay. Mercury pollution already has impaired rivers, lakes, and streams throughout the United States, making certain fish unsafe to eat. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 percent of women of childbearing age in America already have mercury in their bodies at levels high enough to put their babies at risk of birth defects, loss of IQ, learning disabilities and developmental problems.

Entitled "Cementing a Toxic Legacy? How EPA Has Failed to Control Mercury Pollution From Cement Kilns," the Earthjustice/EIP report outlines specific recommendations for EPA and state agency action based on the following key conclusions:

-- Mercury emissions from cement kilns are almost twice as high as the agency has previously acknowledged, and in many states kilns are among the worst mercury polluters. EPA now estimates that cement kilns emit nearly 23,000 pounds of mercury each year, far more than the Agency's 2006 estimate of 11,995 pounds.

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SOURCE Environmental Integrity Project, Washington, D.C.;Earthjustice,
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