NEW STUDY SHOWS IMPACT OF MERCURY POLLUTION: THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN WITH MENTAL RETARDATION AND $2.0 BILLION LOST ANNUALLY DUE TO POISONING IN THE WOMB
Study Published Before Senate Vote on Resolution to Delay Plan that Would Increase Mercury Emissions
Washington, DC, September 8 — As the Senate prepares to vote on a bipartisan resolution to reject EPA’s plans to delay national mercury pollution reductions by 15-20 years, a new study published today calculated that the U.S. loses $2.0 billion annually due to the impact of mercury on children’s brain development. The peer-reviewed study by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s Center for Children’s Health and the Environment will be published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.
“Over fifteen hundred babies may suffer mental retardation from their mothers’ exposure to mercury pollution,” said Dr. Leo Trasande, the study’s lead researcher, and Assistant Director of the Center. “The damage also has enormous implications for the national economy.”
In the study, “Mental Retardation and Prenatal Methylmercury Toxicity,” pediatricians at Mount Sinai found that 1566 (range: 376-14293) children each year suffer a big enough loss in IQ to cause mental retardation. This represents 3.2% of MR cases in the US (range: 0.8-29.2%). The researchers estimated that these additional cases cost America $2.0 billion/year (range: $.5-17.9 billion). The EPA has identified coal-fired power plants as the largest industrial emitters of mercury, producing 41% of mercury pollution in the U.S. Coal-fired power plants emit thousands of pounds of toxic mercury into our nation’s air every year—about 90,000 pounds in 2003—but they never have been regulated.
On March 15, 2005, the EPA announced mercury limits for power plants that delayed significant mercury reductions for at least 13 years. Under the Clean Air Act power plants were required to reduce mercury emissions to five tons/year from by 2008. The EPA’s de-listing and Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR) relaxed controls on power plant emissions by permitting 38 tons of mercury to be released each year into the atmosphere through 2017 and 15 tons per year thereafter—a lax standard that will allow a cumulative total of hundreds of tons of avoidable mercury pollution to be released into the air. The uncontrolled emissions allowed under the EPA’s approach will contaminate rivers, lakes and the oceans, keep mercury levels in fish high, and leave children vulnerable.
Mount Sinai pediatricians also found that mercury from American coal-fired power plants accounts for 231 mental retardation cases each year (range: 28-2109), which cost our nation $289 million (range: $35 million-2.6 billion).
“If mercury emissions are allowed to remain at high levels,” said Dr. Philip Landrigan, Director of the Center and Chairman of Community and Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai, “children will continue to suffer loss in intelligence and mental retardation. Most of these effects will last a lifetime and are likely to cost this nation far more than the costs of installing pollution controls to prevent mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants.”
In 2002, the National Academy of Sciences found strong evidence for the toxicity of methylmercury to children’s developing brains, even at low levels of exposure. A recent study from the Centers for Disease Controls found that as many as 637,233 American children are born each year with mercury levels of more than 5.8 µg/L (5.8 micrograms per
liter), the level associated with brain damage and loss of IQ.
The Center for Children’s Health and the Environment is the nation’s first academic research and policy center to examine the links between exposure to toxic pollutants and childhood illness. CCHE was established in 1998 within the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The mission of the Center for Children’s Health and the Environment (CCHE) of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine is to protect children against environmental threats to health.
The abstract of the article is available at
The Mount Sinai Medical Center
The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The Mount Sinai Hospital is one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. Founded in 1852, Mount Sinai today is a 1,171-bed tertiary-care teaching facility that is internationally acclaimed for excellence in clinical care. Last year, nearly 48,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients, more than 72,000 received care in the emergency department, and the outpatient department recorded nearly 470,000 visits. Mount Sinai School of Medicine is internationally recognized as a leader in groundbreaking clinical and basic-science research, as well as innovative approaches to medical education. Mount Sinai ranks 9th among the nation’s 125 medical schools in the percentage of graduates who go on to faculty positions in medical schools across the country. Mount Sinai also is in the top 25 in receipt of National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants with a total of more than $154 million during Fiscal Year 2003. Information about Mount Sinai can be found online at: www.mountsinai.org and www.mssm.edu
I found this post in on of the yahoo groups. It seems to confirm the idea.
.... my daughter was exposed via a flu shot in utero. Her diagnosis is classic infantile autism. Since my pregnancy was perfect up until this flu shot, after which my daughter completely shut down metabolically and stopped growing, went into fetal distress and I had to be put on bed rest, I tell people who insist that she did not regress and was "born this way", that she regressed in the womb. No question about it. Plus I did not even mention the fact that I had twins in this pregnancy (the other was a boy), and I lost him after this same flu shot. Poor little guy. :-(
Volume 185, Issue 1-2, pp. 23 - 33, 14 March, 2003
Placental transfer of mercury in pregnant rats which received dental amalgam restorations
Y. Takahashi, S. Tsuruta, M. Arimoto, H. Tanaka, M.
Mercury vapor released from one, two and four amalgam restorations in pregnant rats and mercury concentrations in maternal and fetal organs were studied. Dental treatment was given on day 2 of pregnancy. Mercury concentration in air samples drawn from each metabolism chamber with a rat were measured serially for 24 h on days 2, 8 and 15 of pregnancy. On each day of pregnancy, the amount of mercury in 24 h air samples was in proportion to the amalgam surface areas. Linear regression analysis showed relatively high correlation coefficients between the mercury content and amalgam surface areas, and the coefficients were statistically significant. A highly significant correlation was also found between the number of amalgam fillings and their surface areas. Mercury concentrations in major maternal organs with one, two and four amalgam fillings tended to increase with the increasing amalgam surface areas. Spearman's rank correlation test revealed significant correlations in the brain, liver, kidneys and placenta but not in the lung. Furthermore, significant correlations were also found between the mercury concentrations in all maternal organs and the amount of mercury in 24 h air samples on day 15 of pregnancy.
Mercury concentrations in fetal brain, liver and kidneys were much lower than those of the dams but liver and kidneys showed positive correlations between the mercury content and maternal amalgam surface areas. Similar correlations were observed between the mercury concentrations in fetal organs and the amount of mercury in 24 h air samples on day 15 of pregnancy. In fetal brain, no significant correlations were found between either maternal amalgam surface areas or the amount of mercury in 24 h samples on day 15 of pregnancy but significant uptake of mercury was found in the samples from the dams given four amalgam fillings. The results of the present study demonstrated that mercury vapor released from the amalgam fillings in pregnant rats was distributed to maternal and fetal organs in dose-dependent amounts of the amalgam fillings.