“Prenatal exposure to mercury lowers kids’ IQs, leaving families burdened by a lifetime of caring for children with serious intellectual limitations. Mercury exposure is bad for society and the U.S economy, causing an estimated $8.7 billion dollars in lost productivity every year,” said Landrigan.
“More must be done to prevent mercury poisoning of pregnant women and children; the human and economic costs are too high to tolerate,” said Landrigan.
Mercury emitted from coal burned in power plants damages the developing brain of fetuses and young children, with devastating effects for families and our economy.
Air pollution is a major cause of disease and illness among American children. That’s why Healthy Child Healthy World is excited to be part of the Moms Clean Air Force, which is uniting moms from all over the country to fight for clean air. Actress and children’s book author Julianne Moore is lending her support to the effort through a new video released today.
“Air pollution isn’t just dirty. It’s poisonous for our children,” says Moore in the video.
Breathing the chemicals found in air pollution is a particular threat to children, who, pound for pound, breathe more air, drink more water, and consume more food than adults. Additionally, air pollution triggers asthma, which has become the most common chronic childhood disease. The asthma rate doubled between 1980 and 1995, a jump that can’t be explained by genetics. Ten million children have experienced asthma as some point during their lives; Latino children are 60 percent more at risk from asthma than white children.
“Indoor and outdoor air pollution are established causes of asthma, which is the leading cause of emergency room visits and school absenteeism for children. Kids don’t have a chance to lead healthy lives or do well in school if they are fighting for every breath,” said Landrigan.
There are steps you can take to protect your family from mercury contamination and asthma.
1. Watch Julianne Moore’s Moms Clean Air Force video and roar! It’s time to get involved! Moms Clean Air Force is working to make clean and healthy air available to all of us.
2. Support stricter pollution standards on power plants. Tell Congress you support clean air!
3. Avoid mercury-laden food. Eating fish, particularly tuna and shark, is a major source of mercury exposure. Check out this list for what's safe and what's not.
4. Protect your family & your family to be. If you’re thinking about getting pregnant, clear your body of mercury three to six months before conceiving by watching what you eat.
Read Dr. Landrigan’s tips for a healthy pregnancy.