EPA chief called on to retract inflammatory falsehood made on Daily Show

JunkScience.com is calling on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson to publicly retract her false and inflammatory statement regarding mercury made on national TV last week.

While being interviewed last Thursday (May 19) by Jon Stewart on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and in the context of the EPA’s recent proposal to regulate mercury emissions from power plants, Jackson said:

Mercury is a neurotoxin. It destroys our children’s brains, oftentimes before they are born.

This statement is patently false because:

  • There is no evidence that mercury emissions from U.S. power plants, about one percent of global emissions, have caused any harm to any child’s brain, before or after birth; and
  • Mercury has not “destroyed” anyone’s brain in any reasonable interpretation of that word.


As the chief government official for environmental regulation, it is outrageous that Jackson would make such recklessly false and inflammatory statements, especially to a national TV audience. Her calculatedly hysterical statement, scaring Americans about the air they breathe, is akin to shouting fire in a crowded theater.

We call upon Administrator Jackson to retract her comments about mercury destroying children’s brains and to commit to science-based dialog on public health matters. The requested retraction and commitment should be made publicly and, preferably, on The Daily Show.

Click to view Jackson’s appearance on The Daily Show.

14 thoughts on “EPA chief called on to retract inflammatory falsehood made on Daily Show”

  1. clarification The low levels from power plants are NOT a hazard. having a bunch of it in your sink trap can cause some problems over time. The dose makes the poison.

  2. Well I was kidding, but mercury vapor is in fact a pretty serious health hazard. I don’t worry about it, I just think it is stupid to require us to use less environmentally friendly lights in the name of the environment.

  3. My grandmother taught me that whenever you hear something presented as a fact you should always consider the source.
    Jackson is a political operative.

  4. If Jackson is going to stand behind her statement then she must also ban compact fluorescent lights.

  5. Wondering Aloud, Guess what , life is 100 % fatal. Just stop bothering everybody and enjoy your 70+ years of average longevity. BTW, Have the TV on and even Redford, in his narrative on San Fransico bay remarks that “Mercury is relatively harmless” unless methylated. The latter has a detoxicification process mediated by bacteria.

  6. Do not expect any retraction. The one thing this administration can claim to be accurately is incompetant. Another they have lied about is honest.

  7. Just more proof that the EPA is a propaganda arm of the federal government. Ho, Ho, the EPA has to go!

  8. She likes her job. In order to stay there, she has to listen to the environmental “experts” at the White House. When she speaks, you hear the voices of the WH staff.

  9. Steve, I fear its going to be a cold day in hell before you get such a statement out of her. I just don’t see how she rose to the level that she is at. She was not this nuts in NJ. I guess that old saying goes about ultimate power.

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