The Green Gal Next Door of the week is Dominique Browning, co-founder of the Moms Clean Air Force (MCAF.) This organization is a grass root effort shining a light on the effects of air pollution in this country. Dominique has woven together a group of diverse mom and dad bloggers with a sprinkle of Hollywood star power to lend their voices to the cause. Each telling a story of how air pollution is harming us.
Many of my green mom carnival friends, who I deeply admire are blogging for the organization. I know they wouldn’t be involved in MCAF’s mission if they didn’t feel they could make a difference. Some of the names you might recall from prior articles on Green Talk.
Lisa Sharp, Retro Housewife Goes Green shares her compelling, must read story about living near a cement plant. She is joined by regular MCAF contributors Abbie Walston of Farmer’s Daughter, Lori Popkewitz Alper of Groovy Green Livin, and Katy Farber of NonToxic Kids as well as actresses Kate Capshaw and Julianne Moore.
But Why Should You Care About Air Pollution?
It isn’t pretty. There are over 5 million children under the age of 18 suffering from asthma. As Dominique explained in the video, nothing is scarier than watching a child grasp for air. I know this first hand since my oldest has reactive airways. Every Fall and Spring he lives with his inhaler and singular. Every cold could bring on an asthma attack. When he was little, listening to him sleep with his wheeze made you feel so helpless.
But that’s not all air pollution causes. How many of you refrain from eating fish due its mercury content? Even the FDA warns about fish.
“Therefore, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are advising women who may become pregnant, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children to avoid some types of fish and eat fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury.”
Guess where the mercury pollution is coming from? Power plants. According to the National Resource Defense Council,
” [p]ower plants are the largest source, emitting around 33 tons of mercury pollution in the US annually, and contributing to almost half of all mercury emissions. Large boilers and heaters, many of which are powered by coal, are the next largest source of mercury emissions, followed by steel production. Incinerators, once the largest source of mercury in the U.S. have drastically reduced emissions, though they remain the fourth largest source. Overall, mercury emissions have gone down by 65% in the US over the past two decades.” (emphasis added.) [Source.]
MCAF states mercury accumulates in our organs that have the most lipids or fats. Mercury can be found here.
- “Breasts: Mercury is found in breast milk.
- Brains: Methylmercury is able to breach the blood-brain barrier–a nearly impenetrable membrane of high-density cells that safeguards our brains.
- Umbilical cord: Methylmercury crosses the placental barrier to reach the fetus; a baby’s brain has the highest concentrations of lipids of any in its body.”
I gasped when I read that mercury crosses the placental barrier. CMAF further states that fetuses and young children are at risk since their brain are still developing. Worse yet, methylmercury causes impaired neurological development in children, infants, and fetuses. Doesn’t that just make you angry?
What Can You Do?
Join the MCAF Facebook fan page to keep informed. Take action by signing your name to a pre-printed online form telling Congress to support the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards. Share your stories with MCAF.
Dominique made a believer out of me. Together we can band together to make a difference where each voice is heard. I urge you to join too. Clean Air should be a right not a luxury.