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Mercury: What Oceana Does

chlorine plantOceana’s campaign to stop mercury contamination in seafood takes a two-pronged approach.

First, we are calling on grocery stores to protect their customers by posting warning signs about levels of mercury in seafood.

Customers should know about the FDA’s mercury advice before buying fish for their families.

A number of grocery stores have started posting these signs, joining Oceana's Green List, but many still haven't gotten on board.

Secondly, Oceana campaigns to eliminate mercury-based chlorine production in the United States.

When Oceana’s campaign was launched in early 2005, there were nine mercury-based chlorine facilities in the United States, "the Nasty Nine."

Since then, two factories have closed and seven others are in the process of converting or have converted to mercury-free technology. The companies that refuse to eliminate mercury use in chlorine production include:

- Ashta Chemicals -- operates one plant in Ashtabula, Ohio.
- PPG Industries (NYSE:PPG) – operates one plant in Natrium, West Virginia.

These chlorine factories rival mercury contamination from power plants. In fact, these plants collectively emitted more than 700 pounds of mercury in 2007. The problem is likely to be even worse, since these factories also cannot account for tons of "lost" mercury every year.

To convince these last factories to eliminate mercury use, Oceana has community organizers to rally local support to encourage factory modernization. Additionally, Oceana works on legislation to phase-out the 19th century process in favor of mercury-free technology.