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Letters to the Editor

Limit mercury

Susan Schmidt February 22nd, 2012

A 7-month-old relative has a mass in her brain located where doctors could only cut out 10 percent or cause blindness. She will soon start chemotherapy.

I recently passed a billboard west of Portland Avenue on Interstate 40 advertising treatment for brain tumors. When there are enough people in Oklahoma with brain tumors to warrant a huge billboard, there must be environmental causes.

Surely we can do a better job of preventing previously uncommon and deadly diseases that so many of our friends and families are facing. Oklahoma has been named the 25th most mercury-polluted state in the nation. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin, linked to reproductive health problems, heart attacks and developmental disabilities.

Coal-fired power plants in Oklahoma emitted a staggering 1,951 pounds of toxic mercury pollution in 2009. Being downwind, we also get mercury from Texas’ numerous coal-fired power plants. It only takes a tiny amount of mercury to pollute our water supplies. That is already happening, as it is unsafe to eat the fish in many Oklahoma lakes.

Part of the government’s job is to protect its citizens. The Environmental Protection Agency is trying to do that with the new standards limiting mercury. Our political representatives continually take sides against the EPA and, by extension, against our families. We are paying dearly for the corporate greed polluting our environment.

—Susan Schmidt
Oklahoma City

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02.22.2012 at 08:03 Reply

If only there was some means of ensuring they we're receiving the same quantities of mercury as their constituents, maybe things would be different.

Along the lines of billboards, ever notice how much advertising hospitals do?  Since when does a hospital need to advertise, it's a friggin HOSPITAL!  This to me seems indicitive of a larger issue with healthcare.  That being the lack of non-profit hospitals.  This is as brilliant as falsely inflating the cost of gas.  Those who can profit at the expense of those who have no choices will do so until those they bilk are either broke or dead.  Capitalism at it's finest.