Rain, Rain, Go Away
Rain in New England contains mercury levels four times higher than the feds consider safe for aquatic life, suggesting that the risk of eating freshwater fish in the region is growing, according to a report being released today by the National Wildlife Federation. For example, the average level of mercury measured in 71 rain samples from the Quabbin Reservoir, the drinking water source for greater Boston, was 10 times the level considered safe by the U.S. EPA. Coal-fired power plants, trash incinerators, and other industrial sources in New England release about 35,000 pounds of mercury into the air each year. The EPA is facing a court-ordered deadline of Dec. 15 to better regulate coal plants, including their mercury emissions. A report by the National Academy of Sciences earlier this summer linked mercury to neurological, immune system, and heart disorders.