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Letter to the Editor: Pollution on the rise

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Thursday, July 18, 2019

The working class guy who wants to take his son fishing may be putting his and his son’s health at risk if he plans to eat the fish thanks to President Trump and his gutting of environmental laws. Trump's plans puts average Americans at risk for cancers, birth defects and nervous system disorders from exposure to environmental toxins.

Trump’s plan allows coal plants to emit more mercury into the atmosphere. Mercury exposure can causes many health problems, including neurological disorders, heart and lung problems and compromised immune systems. The main source of exposure is through eating contaminated fish and seafood. Babies developing in the womb and young children are especially at risk, which is why pregnant women are warned not to eat too much fish.

Relaxing of the mercury standards will only help the coal industry executives and mine owners. It will not help average Americans because it will cost money for expensive medical care, and it will result in premature deaths for many people. The future will tell.

Trump also relaxed standards for carbon emissions for new coal plants and rolled back existing regulations on carbon emissions and coal ash. These actions are not helping the American people. They are just making our environment dirtier. Rolling back carbon emissions will only allow utilities to make more money because they won’t have to spend as much to clean up their emissions. And car makers won’t have to spend any money to make their cars more fuel efficient, and Americans will have to spend more money on gas for vehicles thanks to this policy.

Trump gave another gift to the wealthy coal mine owners when he relaxed standards for toxic waste water. Scientific American reported that the standards would have kept 1.4 billion pounds of toxic chemicals out of America’s waterways every year. The pollutants include lead, selenium and arsenic, which have been linked to cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders. The 2.7 million people who live within three miles of a coal plant are especially at risk.

This toxic waste water was dumped into North Carolina rivers lakes and streams last fall during Hurricane Florence. You can thank Trump and the coal industry for that gift. Be sure to watch for health repercussions in the future.

Judith Mesko

Rocky Mount