WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee, called for Democratic support today of S.1844 the Clear Skies bill, to reduce power plant emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and mercury by seventy percent. This is the largest emission reduction initiative ever proposed by an American President.


“If my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are serious about cleaning our air and reducing emissions from power plants -- including mercury – they should join me in supporting the Clear Skies bill. “Instead, they would rather posture politically and scare the public from eating fish. In the long run I fear this scare tactic regarding mercury could cause a serious health problem by driving Americans away from the indisputably beneficial role fish play in a balanced diet.”


A substantial body of valid, reliable, and generally accepted evidence supports the conclusion that potential health benefits outweigh potential health risks associated with fish consumption in the United States. There is no valid, reliable, and generally accepted evidence of increasing amounts of mercury in fish consumed by Americans.


In addition, there is no valid, reliable, and generally accepted evidence that pregnant women, fetuses, and children in the United States have suffered any mercury-related adverse health effects as a result of consuming fish – or that there is a correlation between potential emissions of mercury from U.S. power plants and the concentrations of methyl mercury found in fish consumed by Americans.


Studies show that mercury is only toxic when ingested in enormous quantities – far beyond anything found in fish. In addition, the largest study ever conducted over the longest period of time shows that women and children in the Seychelles Islands who consume fish at much higher levels (and thus higher mercury ingestion) than women and children in the United States, have no negative effects from eating so much fish. In fact, because of the numerous and well-documented positive health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids that are found in fish, these women and children had some added health benefits from their high consumption.