After years of urging, the US Environmental Protection Agency is proposing regulations to cut down on pollution from cement kilns. Lester Graham reports:
After years of urging the US Environmental Protection Agency is proposing regulations to cut down on pollution from cement kilns. Lester Graham reports:
Cement – the stuff used to make concrete – is made by baking limestone and other ingredients at really high temperatures in huge coal-burning ovens.
Burning the coal and baking the stone both release mercury. The mercury gets into the food chain and contaminates fish.
Mercury is a neuro-toxin, so eating contaminated fish can cause health problems, including IQ loss.
For 20 years Congress and the courts have been telling the EPA to do something about mercury pollution from cement kilns.
Jim Pew is a staff attorney with Earth Justice, an environmental group. It’s sued the EPA over the issue.
“The government response until now has not been to try to get mercury under control, since everybody agrees it’s a problem. The response has been to tell people ‘mercury is out there, so don’t eat the fish.’”
Under the EPA proposal, cement kilns would have to clean up the mercury and other pollution emitted from their smokestacks.
For The Environment Report, I’m Lester Graham.