Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Thor mercury: birth defects and eyes, lungs and kidney damage

Our MP's Roger Gale and Steve ladyman both cliam that Thor mercury is safe and water pollution from Thor, Sericol and Infratil is our fault for tipping paint or oil down the sink.

The fire at Thor in 2007 was claimed by Roger and the Police as off no danger and simply "close your windows".

Thor in Margate closed in 1988 after health and safety concerns over poisoning workers, neighbours (Thor Margate sits next to a business park and housing estate and main road) and the water table.

20 people were subsequently poisoned in Africa and Thor closed in 1994 in Cato Ridge.

Thor Margate still operated until last year. Confirmation of chemical storage and water pollution rests with the Environment Agency.

What has been going on for 20 years?

Below is an extract from the United Nations (UNEP and WHO) mercury report in Bangkok 2007.

As you can see there is no safe dosage level (droplets can kill): as breathed in or passed onto the skin or drunk from the water or eaten from fish, it builds in your body tissues and fats and causes genetic defects in children and body damage as the mercury poisoning takes effect:

· Mercury and mercury-containing compounds are highly toxic and have a variety of significant adverse effects on human health, wildlife and the environment.

· In recent years, environmental mercury levels have risen.

· Once released, mercury can persist in the environment where it circulates between air, water, sediments, soil and biota in various forms.

· Atmospheric mercury can be transported long distances in the atmosphere, incorporated by microorganisms and may be concentrated up the food chain.

· Localized hot spots exist from the use of mercury in industrial processes, mining, waste sites, and other air emission point sources.

· Bacterial processes convert some of the mercury deposited in bodies of water into methylmercury, a form that can bioaccumulate up the food chain, becoming concentrated in larger, predatory marine mammals and fish, such as seals, swordfish, shark, marlin, mackerel, walleye, sea bass and tuna.

· In the human body, mercury damages the central nervous system, thyroid, kidneys, lungs, immune system, eyes, gums, and skin. Neurological damage caused by mercury and that has reached the brain cannot be reversed. There is no known safe exposure level for elemental mercury in humans, and effects can be seen even at very low levels.

· The most common exposure to mercury is through ingestion of fish and other marine species contaminated with methylmercury.

· There are two general types of subpopulations susceptible to mercury: those who are more sensitive to the effects of mercury (the fetus, newborns and children) and those who are exposed to higher levels of mercury through their livelihood and/or culture (anglers, subsistence fishers).

· People may also be exposed to elemental or inorganic mercury through inhalation of mercury vapour during occupational activities or spills or through direct contact from mercury use.

· Over the past 50 years mercury’s toxicity has been well documented and many countries have taken steps to reduce its uses and releases, and to protect their citizens from exposure to mercury.

What has been going on at THor, Sericol and Infratil to allow such massive pollution and no clean-up.

Thor from 1988.

Sericol from 1993.

Infratil since 2005.

Haven't our politicians and civil servants been cavalier with the public's safety?

And even now?

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