Coal-fired power plants don’t just pollute our air—their toxins also end up in our water and our bodies. A recent Sierra Club survey found that Latinos face a disproportionate risk of toxic mercury pollution from coal plants. The process of burning coal spews over 100,000 pounds of mercury into the environment each year, and this poison passes through rain into waterways where it is absorbed by fish and eventually ingested by humans.
Our survey found that, because large numbers of Latinos catch and eat fish from contaminated waterways, they are more vulnerable to mercury poisoning: 31 percent of Latinos fish regularly, and 76 percent of those eat what they catch, sharing it with their families. These families include young children and women of child-bearing age—two population sectors who are most vulnerable to mercury poisoning.
These findings generated national media coverage in both English and Spanish (even more coverage here and here), which helps us reach more communities and put further pressure on the coal industry.
More on Sierra Club’s work to stop mercury pollution.