Mercury in the Environment
A Volatile Problem

Mercury is a persistent and naturally occurring metal that has provoked substantial concern because methyl mercury (an organic form) accumulates in fish and can cause subtle neurological deficiencies in children who have been exposed to it in the womb.

Accordingly, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is under pressure to reduce its permissible level of mercury in fish sold in the United States.3 To address concern about mercury, several senators and President George W. Bush have proposed new legislation to cut emissions of pollutants from power plants, which are the biggest anthropogenic source of mercury in the United States.[4]

However, these different parties disagree about how mercury should be regulated. The controversy is likely to grow through December 2004, which is the deadline for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate emissions following the maximum achievable control technology (MACT) provisions of the Clean Air Act.[5] This proposed regulation has faced some opposition because it is relatively costly.

In general, established U.S. regulatory policy suggests that regulatory decisions to manage risks should carefully assess the costs of controls and the resulting improvements to human health and the environment.[6] However, attempts to implement this policy in the case of mercury are complicated by significant scientific uncertainty about the role of natural and anthropogenic sources of environmental mercury, how mercury is transported through the environment and where it eventually rests, the processes that produce methylmercury, the effects of methylmercury on ecosystems, and the nature and scope of mercury-related risks to human health.

Click here to view this paper as an Adobe Acrobat PDF.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Randall
Lutter

What's new on AEI

Defeating ISIS: AEI experts weigh-in before the president’s address on Wednesday
image Degrading, defeating, and destroying the Islamic State
image Wealth Building Home Loan: Building wealth through homeownership and retirement savings
image The $3 iPhone
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 15
    MON
  • 16
    TUE
  • 17
    WED
  • 18
    THU
  • 19
    FRI
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 | 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
The Constitution as political theory

Please join us for the third-annual Walter Berns Constitution Day Lecture as James Ceasar, Harry F. Byrd Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, explores some of the Constitution’s most significant contributions to political theory, focusing on themes that have been largely unexamined in current scholarship.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 | 8:10 a.m. – Thursday, September 18, 2014 | 1:30 p.m.
Third international conference on housing risk: New risk measures and their applications

We invite you to join us for this year’s international conference on housing risk — cosponsored by the Collateral Risk Network and AEI International Center on Housing Risk — which will focus on new mortgage and collateral risk measures and their applications.

Event Registration is Closed
Thursday, September 18, 2014 | 2:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Speaker of the House John Boehner on resetting America’s economic foundation

Please join us as Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) delivers his five-point policy vision to reset America’s economy.

Event Registration is Closed
Friday, September 19, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Reforming Medicare: What does the public think?

Please join us as a panel of distinguished experts explore the implications of the report and the consumer role in shaping the future of Medicare.

Event Registration is Closed
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.