Who speaks for Summit County’s children? | SummitDaily.com

Who speaks for Summit County’s children?

John DarnowFrisco

It was disturbing to read in the article “County Biomass Project Progressing,” on Feb. 6, that the proposed wood incinerators will release a substantial amount of mercury into our local air. Mercury is extremely harmful to developing neurological systems – the brains and nervous systems of fetuses, infants and children. Even the smallest doses of mercury may cause irreversible damage to this target group. Ask your doctor.There is much that we do not know about mercury toxicity. Scientists are not sure if there is any level of mercury that a fetus can tolerate without harm. We recently learned that a fetus concentrates mercury from the mother’s system. We see unexplained increases in neurological disorders of children. Let’s keep in mind that the Summit County population may already bear above-average exposure to mercury, from legacy mining and smelting operations. How, then, will the extra mercury from the incinerators impact the fetuses, infants and children of Summit County? Perhaps you feel that this is an unlikely scenario. I would respond, does “unlikely” constitute an acceptable level of risk to the children and pregnant women of our county?To better understand this risk, the county needs input from independent and reputable medical and health experts. We also need objectivity, and not project cheerleading.It is not the responsibility of the residents to show that these incinerators pose an unacceptable risk. Instead, the burden of proof is on our county officials to demonstrate that these incinerators are as safe as the natural gas boilers that they would replace.EDITOR’S NOTE: The writer holds a Doctorate in biochemistry and organic chemistry, and is an Adjunct Professor at Colorado Mountain College.

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