Lost and Found: Missing Mercury from Chemical Plants Pollutes Air and Water

Issue Paper
April 19, 2006

Mercury is an invisible, odorless poison that can pollute oceans and rivers, contaminate our food and seep into the air, potentially causing severe health problems when ingested by humans. A major source of this pollution is chlor-alkali chemical manufacturing plants. Not only do these plants release harmful mercury into the environment, but they also cannot account for tons of mercury "lost" each year -- mercury which likely ends up in the air we breathe. This April 2006 NRDC issue paper reveals new sampling evidence that mercury emissions near the nation’s oldest and most polluting plants sometimes exceed government safe levels for chronic exposure, raising concerns for the health of residents who live near facilities in Ohio, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Louisiana.