Mercury Pollution From Cement Kilns | Facility Executive - Creating Intelligent Buildings

More than seven years after a federal court ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate toxic mercury pollution from cement kilns, no action has been taken to curb these dangerous and rapidly growing emissions from over 150 plants located across the nation. A major new study to be released on July 23, 2008 […]


https://facilityexecutive.com/2008/07/mercury-pollution-from-cement-kilns/
More than seven years after a federal court ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate toxic mercury pollution from cement kilns, no action has been taken to curb these dangerous and rapidly growing emissions from over 150 plants located across the nation. A major new study to be released on July 23, 2008 […]
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Mercury Pollution From Cement Kilns

Mercury Pollution From Cement Kilns | Facility Executive - Creating Intelligent Buildings

More than seven years after a federal court ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate toxic mercury pollution from cement kilns, no action has been taken to curb these dangerous and rapidly growing emissions from over 150 plants located across the nation. A major new study to be released on July 23, 2008 by Earthjustice and the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) will document the severely underestimated problem of mercury emissions from cement kilns and the EPA’s failure to control them.

Cement kilns produce cement, the main ingredient in concrete. The unregulated kilns are found in many major U.S. urban areas, including cement plants in AL, CA, IA, IL, MD, MI, MT, NY, OR, SC, and WA state (which are highlighted in the report).

Mercury pollution has impaired rivers, lakes, streams and even oceans, making certain fish unsafe to eat. The Earthjustice/EIP study will show that the toxic mercury emissions from cement kilns far exceed EPA estimates. It also will raise major questions regarding the adequacy of cement companies’ mercury reporting. The report from the two groups outlines the steps that federal and state officials should take now to deal with this major public health threat.

Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin, interfering with the brain and nervous system. According to the report, kilns are considered the top unregulated source of dangerous a pollutant that acts as a neurotoxin.

Exposure to mercury can be particularly hazardous for pregnant women and small children. During the first several years of life, a child’s brain is still developing and rapidly absorbing nutrients. Prenatal and infant mercury exposure can cause mental retardation, cerebral palsy, deafness, and blindness.The EPA estimates that 15% of women of childbearing age, or one out of every six, have enough mercury in their blood to put a baby at risk of cognitive and developmental damage.

Mercury poses a threat to adult men, as well as women and children. In adults, mercury poisoning can adversely affect fertility and blood pressure regulation and can cause memory loss, tremors, vision loss, and numbness of the fingers and toes.

An online news conference will be held on July 23, 2008 at 1:30 p.m. EDT in conjunction with the release of the report. Anyone interested in participating in the news conference (with full, two-way Q&A) can call 800-860-2442 and ask for the “cement kiln toxic pollution study” news event.

News event speakers will be:
* Earthjustice staff attorney James Pew;
* Environmental Integrity Project Director Eric Schaeffer; and
* Marti Sinclair, chairperson, Sierra Club National Air committee (Cincinnati, OH).

For those unable to participate in real time, the event will be available online as of 6 p.m. EDT on July 23, 2008.

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  1. http://www.examiner.com/a-1508440~Get_the_mercury_out.html

    Editorial
    Get the mercury out

    The Baltimore Examiner Newspaper
    2008-07-28

    BALTIMORE –

    EPA failure to reduce mercury from cement kilns puts us at risk and hurts business. But self-proclaimed environmental activists should not delude us that rigid enforcement will do much immediately to protect health.

    Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice charge that the nation’s 150 kilns, including two in Maryland, expose us to at least 23,000 pounds of mercury a year. High doses of this heavy element cause a wide array of physical and mental diseases. It accumulates up the food chain, especially in fish. It harms babies in the womb. No one knows the dangers of long-term, low-level human exposure. Odds are, it’s bad.

    EPA’s decade of dawdling is inexcusable, but activists’ efforts to push the agency merely shine a light on the universal immensity of the problem. Screeching about saving Earth from mercury is ludicrous. According to the Tennessee Valley Authority, the planet itself accounts for 40 percent of emissions.

    Of humanity’s 60 percent contribution, Asia spews out half. The U.S. accounts for only 3 to 5 percent, and the EPA estimates a third of that is from coal power. TVA reported, “Mercury … can travel great distances in the atmosphere … a global problem that knows no national or continental boundaries.”

    So, burning coal is overwhelmingly the biggest culprit. Who burns the most coal and makes the most cement? China, says the U.S. Geological Survey. China also emits more mercury due to primitive pollution-control technology.

    Even if we could get all our cement kilns to zero, it would not reduce aggregate measurable health risks. It might even push more production to unregulated havens, which would emit even more mercury.

    This shows the quandary of regulation. For example, one source of U.S. kiln mercury is disposal of ash scrubbed — due to regulations — from coal power. But the most important thing it shows is the opportunity for another technology developed here due to government regulation to become a huge, value-adding industry. That has been the case for 35 years of U.S. environmental technology leadership, first forced on us by President Richard M. Nixon.

    China and other booming nations are learning the hard way that pollution is a deferred cost that accrues and compounds, and eventually must be paid. China’s cement production increased almost 40 percent in the last three years, almost entirely in primitive, dirty plants.

    Soon they will realize they have to get the mercury out. Let us ensure when they turn to us, we know how.

    That is why delaying environmental regulation that forces advanced technology not only puts world health at risk, it hurts business.

    Examiner

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