Take Action: Tell the EPA: Set limits on Big Coal’s water pollution!

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I am writing today in support of EPA’s proposed effluent limitation guideline and standard for steam electric power generating points. Establishing a zero-discharge limitation for all pollutants in flue gas desulfurization wastewater and bottom ash transport water is a critically important step toward protecting human health. These discharges include dangerous pollutants like mercury, arsenic, and nickel, all of which have epidemiological and toxicological data pointing to adverse human health effects at certain doses.

The World Health Organization has found that inhalation, ingestion, and dermal exposure to mercury is associated with neurological and behavioral disorders in addition to tremors, insomnia, memory loss, neuromuscular effects, headaches, and cognitive and motor dysfunction.

Chronic exposure at doses as high as 20 μg/m3 is associated with mild, subclinical signs of central nervous system toxicity (WHO).

Additionally, epidemiological studies have shown that long-term exposure to arsenic can increase the risk of cancers of lung, skin, or bladder, in addition to heart damage (i.e., myocardial depolarization, hypertrophy of the ventricular wall, cardiac arrhythmias), vascular damage (Blackfoot disease), ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular diseases, and hypertension (Khairul).

Finally, exposure to nickel can cause a variety of effects on human health, such as allergy, cardiovascular and kidney diseases, lung fibrosis, lung, and nasal cancer. What’s more, epigenetic alterations induced by nickel exposure can perturb the genome.

The role of the EPA is to protect human health and the environment. Exposure to these contaminants, which are commonly found in flue gas desulfurization wastewater and bottom ash transport water, has a clear causal relationship with many adverse health outcomes. Please establish a zero-discharge limitation for these dangerous wastewaters as quickly as possible.