New mercury reduction strategy

The US EPA is to launch a strategy to reduce persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) pollutants such as mercury, dioxin and PCBs.

The strategy will develop and implement national action plans for PBTs; screen and select more PBTs for reduction; prevent new PBTs from entering the marketplace; and quantitatively measure progress of these actions.

An EPA draft plan for mercury is among the first initiatives under the new strategy.

PBTs are highly toxic, can remain in the environment for generations and can travel long distances through the air to reach land and water. They are associated with a range of adverse health effects ranging from foetal- and child-developmental problems in the case of mercury to cancer and other effects in the case of other PBTs.

PBTs can bioaccumulate, in the food chain. In the case of mercury, for example, 40 states to date have issued fish consumption advisories in a least one body of water.

EPA’s action plan to reduce mercury requires coal-fired electric generating plants for the first time to collect data and to inform the public of mercury emissions.

To obtain a copy of the strategy, contact e-mail epa

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