U.S. Water News Online
BOSTON -- A coalition of environmental groups has given
Massachusetts a C-minus for its efforts to clean up mercury
The recently-released report by the New England Zero Mercury
Campaign, criticized the state Legislature for failing to pass laws
that would phase out mercury products.
``The summer school assignment for Massachusetts is to pass
pending legislation that would phase out mercury products by 2010,''
John McNabb of Clean Water Action said in a statement.
The report card praised acting Gov. Jane Swift for announcing
regulations that will make Massachusetts the first state to limit
power plant mercury emissions.
The report also praised the state Department of Environmental
Protection for requiring that trash incinerators begin to separate
mercury products from the rest of the trash before burning.
Even though the grade appears to be low, the fact Massachusetts is
doing something is noteworthy, said Gina McCarthy, assistant
secretary for the environment at the Executive Office of
Environmental Affairs. Some states are doing little or nothing to
control mercury emissions.
``To the extent that we're at least in school, we're doing well,''
Massachusetts has begun public service announcements to inform
people about products with mercury, has set up a hot line with
information about mercury products, and has even begun giving out
mercury brochures with fishing licenses, McCarthy said.
``We'd rather have been an A, but we're certainly trying to get
there,'' she said.
Maine, with a B, got the best grade. Connecticut and Rhode Island
each earned Ds. New Hampshire was given a D-plus, while Vermont got a
The New England Zero Mercury Campaign is a coalition of nine
Mercury is a highly-toxic, naturally-occurring element released
into the environment from mining, the production and disposal of
consumer products, dental amalgam, and from burning fossil fuels and
One in 10 women of childbearing age is exposed to mercury in
seafood and freshwater fish that can harm their unborn children,
according to a March 2000 study by the Centers for Disease Control
The recent report graded the states in 10 areas ranging from the
ability to remove and recycle mercury products to the ability to
communicate mercury warnings.
Among the key findings:
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