Approximately 1 in every 6 babies in the USA are born with harmful mercury levels in their blood. Consumption of fish contaminated by mercury is the main route of human exposure. The mercury drops from the air into the water system, where fish we eat eventually take it up. Mercury is extremely toxic to the brain and nervous system, especially to the rapidly developing brain of the unborn child during early pregnancy. When a pregnant woman eats mercury-contaminated fish, the mercury in the fish enters the mother’s blood stream. Once in the mother’s bloodstream, mercury can move directly across the placenta to enter the body of her unborn child. One of the body’s protective shields against damage to the brain, called “the blood-brain barrier,” is not fully developed until the first year of life. Thus, in the unborn child, mercury can cross this incomplete barrier and accumulate in the brain, causing developmental disabilities and brain damage resulting in lowered intelligence and learning problems. This has lifetime implications. One study found that “the resulting loss of intelligence causes diminished economic productivity that persists over the entire lifetime of these children.” The unborn are also being harmed by air pollution (SO2) that will be reduced as a co-benefit of the mercury standard. This pollution has been linked to birth defects, low birth weight, premature births, stillbirths and infant deaths.
The Evangelical Environmental Network is a ministry dedicated to the care of God's creation. The Rev. Mitchell Hescox serves as President/CEO of The Evangelical Environmental Network publisher, Creation Care Magazine. He has testified before Congress, appeared on CNN, NPR, PRI and numerous radio programs both Christian and secular. He has also been named one of the ten Environmental Religious Saints by Huffington Post. Stay tuned!