The Beacon

One Small Step for Oceana, One Giant Leap for the Environment

Five down, four to go. ...

We told you a few months back about a meeting the Chlorine Institute held in which top-level executives discussed how best to deal with Oceana, since we'd been pressuring a number of chlorine-alkali plants to invest in mercury-free technology.

As it turns out, the best way to handle a tenacious conservation organization is to simply take their advice. Take ERCO Worldwide, for example, the most recent to announce it'll make the switch to mercury-free technology.

The largest mercury polluter in Wisconsin has agreed to convert to modern mercury-free technology, another big step in the effort to transition all chlorine-alkali factories to 21st century standards.

ERCO Worldwide will spend $95 million in the conversion, expected to take just over two years with membrane technology starting up in 2009. The company will save millions in the long-run, though, as a recent Oceana report revealed that mercury-free technology is not only better for the environment, it's better for the bottom line. Everybody wins.

Not much more than a year ago, nine chlorine plants in the United States were still emitting mercury into the atmosphere, which ultimately seeps into the oceans, contaminating the oceans and the seafood residing there -- the same seafood people eat.

The FDA issued a warning a while back for pregnant women and small children that they should not consume certain species that are particularly exposed to mercury contamination because mercury can cause neurological damage to developing children.

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