Mercury is demonized to defend EPA’s expensive anti-coal power plant rules.
Boston Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson writes:
IT WAS almost by accident in 2003 that David Evers fully grasped how mercury permeates and pummels the bird world. He and colleagues from the Biodiversity Research Institute were researching the Nyanza Superfund site — once home to textile dye operations — on the Sudbury River in Ashland.
Evers, the executive director of the Maine-based institute, was trying to net belted kingfishers to see how much mercury was absorbed in their blood by eating fish. During the netting, two red-winged blackbirds, which eat seeds and insects, were trapped.
“Since they don’t eat fish, you’d normally just let them go,’’ Evers said in a phone interview. “But I said, since we have them, we might as well sample their blood, too. Lo and behold, the blackbirds had blood levels of mercury seven times more than for kingfishers. We were puzzled and started scratching our heads.’’
Evers isn’t scratching his head anymore. A decade later, in the most sweeping analysis to date, a newly released report by the Biodiversity Research Institute and the Nature Conservancy found that a wide range of insect-eating songbirds, as well as little brown bats, can concentrate mercury in their blood at rates that can stunt reproduction…