The Beacon

Blog Tags: Mercury

Exploring the Human-Dolphin Connection

© Oceana/Carlos Suarez.

In his new book, “The Voice of the Dolphins” ocean conservationist, filmmaker and Oceana supporter Hardy Jones reflects on his decades of work to protect dolphins and whales around the world, from killer whales in Norway’s fjords to sperm whales off the Galapagos Islands.

In addition to fighting dolphin hunting in Japan, Jones writes of his more recent work to stop one of the greatest threats to dolphins and humans: the rising level of contaminants, such as mercury and PCBs, in the ocean food chain.

The issue hit close to home with Jones when he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2003, a form of blood cancer associated with chemical toxins. Blood tests revealed that he had highly elevated levels of chemicals such as DDT and flame retardants in his blood and tissues—the same chemicals found in ever-greater concentrations throughout dolphin populations around the world.


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A Big Win for Safer Seafood

Olin Corp's Charleston, TN facility. © Oceana

I hope you’re not tired of good news -- because we have another big dose for you today.

Olin Corporation announced today that it will phase out the use of mercury in its chlor-alkali manufacturing process in its Charleston, Tennessee facility by the end of 2012. Plus, the company plans to turn its Augusta, Georgia plant into a bleach plant and distribution center, discontinuing chlor-alkali manufacturing (and thus, mercury use).  

The Tennessee facility is the largest mercury-based factory left in the United States. Built in 1962, Olin Corp.’s factory has consistently been the largest mercury emitter in the entire state of Tennessee. The factory, which produces chlorine and caustic soda, discharges mercury directly to the Hiwassee River and is likely the primary cause of the fish consumption advisory on that portion of the river.

Oceana has been working since 2005 to convince mercury-based chlorine plants to convert to cleaner technology. Since then, two factories have closed and three others are in the process of converting or have converted to mercury-free technology. With Olin’s announcement, there are now only two remaining plants using mercury - Ashta Chemicals in Ashtabula, Ohio and PPG Industries in Natrium, West Virginia.


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Oceana Rocks Bonnaroo

Oceana’s Georgia field organizer, Margie McClain, attended the Bonnaroo music festival last month; she kindly sent us this post about her experience:

Away from the comforts of home, surviving the blistering temperatures, thousands set up in camps and vendor areas across 700 acres of farm land in Manchester, TN. Bonnaroo is famous for advocacy participation and on its tenth anniversary, it didn’t let Oceana down.

I was lucky to be joined by volunteers of the Oceana Planetroo Vendor Team to promote the passing of the Mercury Pollution Reduction Act. A strong line of shows and an even stronger line of support helped us get 1000 petition signatures over the course of the four-day festival from every state, including Alaska and Hawaii, to support the Mercury Pollution Reduction Act. 


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20 Years of Depressing but True Stories About the Oceans

Image via wikimedia commons.

A very happy birthday to E, the Environmental Magazine, which recently turned 20 years old. A lot has happened in the environmental world in those two decades, and a lot has also stayed the same.

This excerpt of their article retrospective brings to mind some all-too-familiar ocean threats. (Oh, and thanks for the shout-out):

"A fish in a net was the cover model for E’s July/August 1996 feature on overfishing. With the headline “Vacuuming the Sea,” the article reported that 70% of the world’s marine fish stocks had been heavily exploited.


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Use Facebook to help protect kids from mercury in seafood

Petition in Facebook News Feed

Increase your impact by telling your friends

Be one of the first people to sign our new Facebook petition to protect kids from mercury in fish at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club!

And increase your impact and win prizes by inviting your friends to sign. The 3 people who recruit the most friends to sign by Monday, November 30 will win!

More About The Petition:

Oceana is asking Walmart and its subsidiary Sam's Club to post the Food and Drug Administration's mercury advice at their seafood displays.

While news stories about food recalls rip through the headlines at light speed, many families remain unaware of the ongoing risk of mercury in seafood. Because mercury can harm a young child or unborn baby's developing nervous system, the FDA has issued advice for women of child-bearing age and children to avoid or limit their consumption of certain fish that are contaminated with elevated levels of mercury.


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