A recent Interior Department study found high levels of mercury in every fish tested in 291 streams across the country, according to a recent New York Times article. Even isolated rural waterways were contaminated. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is using the study to push for tougher controls on mercury pollution, much of which comes from coal-fired power plants. According to the Interior Department study, a quarter of the fish examined had mercury levels above EPA safety levels. Ongoing mercury research shows that 10 percent of women of child bearing age already have mercury levels that pose potential health risks for their babies.
For more on how coal-fired power is affecting the health of the Southern Appalachians and its people, go here.