I recently ran across an excellent article in Orion magazine, by Sandra Steingraber, on the effect of toxic chemicals--with an emphasis on methymercury--on our children's brains. "Developmental disabilities now affect about one in every six U.S. children, and most of these are disabilities of the nervous system," she writes.
It isn't just mercury coming out of those coal-fired power plants. Our polluted air also includes acid gases, metals like arsenic, lead and formaldehyde.
Steingraber's piece, Mind Games, is wide-ranging and authoritative. She does a good job of connecting many alarming dots of research; Steingraber is a graceful writer who makes the science quite clear--and she takes it to a personal level that hit home with me. She also teases out a fascinating parallel to today's regulatory lethargy in the scandalously long, drawn out fight in the sixties and seventies over banning lead in paint and gasoline.
We have to keep remembering: by supporting the Environmental Protection Agency efforts to regulated air toxics, we are protecting our children's health.
I have been writing about toxic chemicals on this site for a while now; I recently wondered if I was becoming paranoid? The answer is clear: Not scared enough.
I don't think there is a large enough awareness of what is going into our air, our water, even our food. Pollution is fixable. Regulations are cost effective. We have the right to be protected from poisons. This is exactly what good governments do for their people.
I call the Orion piece to your attention, as the magazine has a small circulation. I urge you to pass it along. And support toxic chemical reform; this links to my go-to blog for all information on toxics and regulation. Our Moms Clean Air Force is campaigning online to educate and inspire people to support the EPA in its fight to regulate poisons coming from coal plants. The more we know, the more empowered we are to demand change.