Mercury poisoning marches through our culture with a 400-year-old trail, at least. “Mad as a hatter” refers to the nerve damage hatmakers in Europe demonstrated, nerve damage we now know came from mercury poisoning.
In the 20th century annals of pollution control, the Minimata disaster stands as a monument to unintended grotesque consequences of pollution, of mercury poisoning.
A key Japanese documentary on the disaster is now available from Zakka Films on DVD, with English subtitles.
Anyone who scoffs at EPA’s four-decades of work to reduce mercury pollution should watch this film before bellyaching about damage to industry if we don’t allow industry to kill babies and kittens in blind, immoral pursuit of profit at public expense.
American Elephants, for example, is both shameless and reckless in concocting lies about mercury pollution regulation (that site will not allow comments that do not sing in harmony with the pro-pollution campaign (I’d love for someone to prove me wrong)). Almost every claim made at that post is false. Mercury is not harmless; mercury from broken CFL bulbs cannot begin to compare to mercury in fish and other animals; mercury pollution is not minuscule (mercury warnings stand in all 48 contiguous states, warning against consumption of certain fish). President Obama has never urged anything but support for the coal-fired power industry — although he has expressed concerns about pollution, as any sane human would.
Republicans have lost their moral compass, and that loss is demonstrated in the unholy campaign for pollution, the campaign against reducing mercury emissions. It’s tragic. Action will be required in November to stop the tragedy from spreading. Will Americans respond as they should at the ballot boxes?
Can you watch “Minimata: The Victims and Their World,” and not urge stronger controls on mercury emissions? Can you support the murder of children and workers, for profit?