Public Health Implications of Mercury

Mercury Recommendations 

A. By what mechanism and how effectively does the local, state, or federal program, strategy, or initiative that you identified address the public health implications of Mercury? Be sure to substantiate your claims.

Answer: The US EPA confirmed the Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR) set a standard method for managing mercury discharged from thermoelectric plants and prepares regulations on the transaction schemes in mercury discharge rights to cost-efficiently reduce mercury discharge from thermoelectric plants. Additionally, it aims to reduce the annual mercury discharge limit to 38 tons (35.4% reduction from the discharge volume in 1999 [48 tons]) and to 15 tons by 2018, which is 70% less than the baseline of 1999. Accordingly, MACT, which is currently provided in most trade, is planned to be applied to coal thermo-electric plants. Furthermore, the EPA established technology-based standards on specific mercury discharge sources referring to the Clean Air Act and set the regulation that all mercury discharging sources should maintain the discharge standards in order to obtain an operational permit or license. The US also work on various mercury management guidelines for the water system and establishes a comprehensive mercury management plan and water quality management standards for the five largest lakes in the US through the Water Quality Guidance for the Great Lake Systems (1995). It prepares test procedure guidelines for analyzing mercury in water through Method 1631 and utilizes it for water quality monitoring. There are water quality criteria for managing methyl mercury in seafood, and restrictions and guidelines using the concept of the Total Maximum Daily Load.

A. What measures are in place for determining and monitoring the success of mercury intervention program? strategy, or initiative? How might the administering agency better track the success of the program, strategy, or initiative? If no measures currently exist, what recommendations would you make and why?

Answer: EPA collaborated with federal agencies, states and other partners to conduct a series of fish contamination studies. These studies provide data on concentrations of mercury and a variety of other chemicals in fish tissue. The Environmental Management Support (GEMS) program This SEG for artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) introduces the range of possible impacts, particularly environmental, health, and socio-political, and explains how project managers and others can support prevention and/or mitigation through project design, environmental analyses for initial environmental examinations (IEEs), and during the development of site-specific environmental mitigation and monitoring plans (EMMPs). EPA contributed to the development of these guidelines. About 20% of the world’s gold is produced by the artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector. This sector is also responsible for the largest releases of mercury to the environment of any sector globally. A major source of air pollution from mercury, artisanal and small-scale gold mining releases approximately 400 metric tons of airborne elemental mercury each year. The administering agency will better track the success of the program because it has the collaboration of the federal, states, local and international organizations. On the one hand, if there are no measures currently exist mitigating mercury poison. I will create awareness by educating the public through radio and TV presentation, and call the attention necessary agencies. On the other hand, initiate strict measure in viding companies that has anything to do mercury.

B. What specific recommendations would you make for improving the local, state, or federal program, strategy, or initiative in terms of minimizing the public health risks presented by the problem? Be sure to justify your recommendations.

Answer: My recommendations will be recycling mercury-containing products rather than disposing of them in regular household trash.  To help prevent mercury releases to the environment by keeping these products out of landfills and incinerators. Once landfilled, mercury from the products may end up in groundwater, and potentially in sources of drinking water.  Once incinerated, mercury may end up in the air. Ensure federal, states, and local agencies have developed collection/exchange programs for mercury-containing devices such as thermometers, manometers, and thermostats. In counties and cities also have household hazardous waste collection programs.  Also, monthly public awareness programs, that direct the public to local officials to find out when and where a collection will be held in your area.

C. What intervention strategy (or strategies) might you recommend for minimizing the public health challenges presented by the problem? Be sure to justify your recommendation.

Answer: In addressing environmental and earth systems problems that occur on timescales longer than the usual political actions, a two-pronged approach is necessary, that combines forward-looking mitigation strategies with adaptation. In the case of mercury, adaptation involves actions that minimize human or environmental exposure to methylmercury other than controlling the direct anthropogenic emissions fraction. At present, the major active policy action in the adaptation arena for mercury involves dietary advice on eating contaminated fish. Other adaptation strategies could include fishing limits or bans or ecosystem interventions to limit mercury revolatilization or methylmercury conversion. However, there is a clear need for more research to inform better, policy-focused adaptation strategies for mercury. Meanwhile analysis suggests that the mercury regime is best conceptualized as a science policy system with multiple driving forces and interactions at multiple scales. Cross-scale policy coordination and adaptation to minimize impacts are two strategies that could successfully create solutions not only for mercury, but also may apply to other environmental issues that cross spatial and temporal scales.

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