Toxic chemicals threaten our health

More than half of all Americans live in places with unsafe levels of air pollution, which causes heart attacks, asthma attacks, emergency room visits, hospital admissions and even deaths each year.

Studies show that one in six women of childbearing age has enough mercury in her bloodstream to put her child at risk of health effects should she become pregnant. This means that more than 689,000 out of the 4.1 million babies born every year could be exposed to dangerous levels of mercury.

The consequences are serious: Children who are exposed to even low-dosage levels of mercury in the womb can have impaired brain functions, including verbal, attention, motor control and language deficits, and lower IQs. When these children are monitored at ages 7 and 14, these impairments still exist — suggesting that the damage caused by mercury may be irreversible.

Mercury contaminates the Great Lakes

Coal-fired power plants spew hundreds of thousands of pounds of toxic mercury into our air every year, which falls to earth in the form of rain and contaminates rivers, lakes and streams.

Wildlife that is exposed to mercury may develop more slowly, have reduced fertility, or even die, depending on the level of exposure. And it doesn’t take much: Scientists found that a gram of mercury — about a drop — deposited in a mid-sized lake in Wisconsin over the course of a year was enough to account for all of the mercury subsequently found in that lake’s fish population.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, mercury impairs 3,781 bodies of water across the country, and 6,363,707 acres of lakes, reservoirs, and ponds in the United States are contaminated by mercury pollution.

Here in Michigan, dangerous levels of mercury keep much of the Great Lakes region off-limits to fishing.

With your help, we can save 46,000 lives

Recently, the EPA moved ahead with efforts to significantly reduce mercury, soot and smog pollution, announcing historic new emissions standards that combined could save 46,000 lives a year. Unfortunately, polluters and their allies in Congress launched a coordinated attack to block these critical safeguards.

We’re working closely with our allies in the public health community, lobbying key senators, and rallying thousands of activists stand up for public health.

It won’t be easy, but if enough of us speak out, we can drown out the coal industry lobbyists and make sure that the EPA is allowed to do its job and protect public health.


Clean Air Updates

Report | Environment Michigan Research & Policy Center

Dirty Energy's Assault On Our Healty: Ozone Pollution

When power plants burn coal, oil or gas, they create the ingredients for ground-level ozone pollution, one of the main components of “smog” pollution. Especially on hot summer days, across wide areas of the United States, ozone pollution reaches levels that are unhealthy to breathe, putting our lives at risk. In 2009, U.S. power plants emitted more than 1.9 million tons of ozone-forming nitrogen oxide pollution into the air.

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Report | Environment Michigan Research & Policy Center

Danger in the Air

 

This report ranks cities in Michigan and across the country for the number of days when the air was unhealthy to breathe due to smog pollution last year and this summer, and includes new data showing that the problem is even worse than the public thought. The research shows that on six additional days last year, Detroit-area residents were exposed to smog levels that a national scientific panel has found to be dangerous to breathe. Yet, because of outdated federal air quality rules, those at risk were never alerted to unhealthy air levels.

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Report | Environment Michigan

10 Scary Facts about Michigan's Air

While ghastly and ghoulish Halloween costumes disappear after October 31st, the very real and very scary problems facing the Michigan’s air are not going anywhere. In honor of this scariest of holidays, Environment Michigan has compiled the ten most frightening facts about Michigan’s air – and what you can do to make future Halloweens far less terrifying.

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Report | Environment Michigan Research & Policy Center

Michigan's Biggest Mercury Polluters

Parents in Michigan shouldn't have to worry that their children's bodies are toxic dumping grounds. The Environmental Protection Agency is moving forward to protect children's health from toxic mercury pollution, and we can't let big polluters stand in the way.

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