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READER INPUT Clean-burning coal is big lie

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I finished my obstetrics/gynecology  residency training 41 years ago in 1972. About then I started warning my obstetrics patients about the health concerns of eating five certain

fish. When I stopped caring for obstetric patients 11 years ago, that list had grown to about 20 and it is longer now.  The risk was for the brain-damaging neurotoxin mercury.  The risk was not much for the adult patient, but for the developing brain of her fetus, aka her baby.  Now, a recent, worldwide study of hair samples has shown that 82 percent of 152 samples had unhealthy levels of mercury.  And, 84 percent of all fish – which I think would include shellfish – have unsafe levels of mercury.  This contamination ranges from the highest mountain and sparkling stream to the deepest ocean.

From where could all this mercury come? The common agent is air. There are,

or were, 1,600 giant smoke stacks for coal-fired generating plants in America alone, each discharging an average of 48 pounds of mercury a day into the air and that toxin goes everywhere, even into unborn babies a world away.

Undeniably, “clean coal” may be both the shortest and biggest lie in the world.                                       

Jon W. Candy, MD

Loomis