by Mitch Hescox
On March 16, 2011, the EPA proposed the First National Standard for Mercury Pollution from Power Plants. This new national standard offers a historic opportunity for the evangelical Christian Church to put its preaching into action. Life, as sacred, has long been a foundational tenet of our faith. We are pro-life and have struggled long to protect the unborn from harm, especially abortion. Over 1,000,000 unborn children die each year from abortions. However, another great threat faces the unborn, mercury poisoning. Unborn children are the most at risk as they are developmentally unable to protect themselves.
According to research, at least 1 in 12, and as many as 1 in 6 women of childbearing age have unsafe levels of mercury in her blood, enough to put a baby at risk for brain damage, autism,and other neurological imparities. These effects are not just temporary but are irreversible. Other research depicts that mercury levels continue elevating in American women, putting more unborn at risk. Mercury easily transmits from mother to child. One UCLA research project found mercury in 30% of US females of childbearing age in 2006, up from only 2%of same age group in 1999. This threat to our unborn is simply not acceptable.
The primary domestic source of mercury comes from the burning of coal. Industrial and utility coal consumption represents at least 87% and as much as 99% of the mercury poisoning of the unborn. Smokestacks emit the mercury that then falls into our streams, lakes, and rivers. Fish consume the mercury we eat the fish and for pregnant mothers the contaminated fish finally accumulates in the weakest -- unborn children.
This isn't a limited problem. Mercury contaminates over 6 million acres of freshwater lakes, 46,000 miles of streams, and 225,000 wetland acres across the United States. The vast majority of our fresh water in every corner of America contains dangerous mercury levels. In fact, every state has some type of fish consumption advisory, including the recommendation for pregnant women not to eat any locally caught fish.
The Evangelical Environmental Network is putting action to our faith by standing in support of EPA's proposed standards limiting mercury and its threats to the unborn. The standard, twenty years in the making reduces 91% mercury released to the air. Some will attempt to weaken this proposed standard. However, unborn children deserve our greatest protection, and we believe the rule as proposed provides the best protection for the weakest in our society, the unborn child. This is an issue in life's sacredness. We encourage all who stand for life to stand with us and especially the unborn.
For more information, please visit www.creationcare.org/