Monday, June 1, 2009

Why do so many doctors oppose the Titan cement plant?

The medical community is coming out in force against the proposal to build a massive cement plant in New Hanover county.

In his article (pdf, 144 KB) for Wilmington Parent magazine, pediatrician Dr. David Hill discusses how mercury in the environment affects children's brain growth and development, and the damage to growing lungs caused by particulate pollution in the air - both of which the Titan plant will bring in spades. Dr. Fred Opper, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine, reminds us in his statement (pdf, 44 KB) that no level of mercury exposure is safe for children, and that more than 8,000 children live or attend school within 5 miles of the proposed Titan site.

Titan officials love to argue that the toxic pollution that will be emitted by the plant will be completely legal - all within federal and state limits. Small comfort when there are already more than 30 species of fish so polluted with mercury that the state of North Carolina recommends children and women of child-bearing age avoid eating them altogether. Mercury isn't just a passing cloud - once it's in the environment, in our food and water and bodies, it's there for life. Adding another significant mercury source to our state's already-full lineup is just a bad idea, and physicians get that better than anyone. You know what they say about an ounce of prevention.

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