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December 7, 2011     The Julian News
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December 7, 2011

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12 The Julian News ® Questions & Answers About Our Environment Dear EarthTalk: I know that large fish contain a lot of mercury, but where does it come from? And what are we doing to prevent this contamination? --Alison Bronner, Atlanta, GA Mercury in the fish we like to eat is a big problem in the United States and increasingly around the world. Mercury itself is a naturally occurring element that is present throughout the environment and in plants and animals. But human industrial activity (such as coal-fired electricity generation, smelting and the incineration of waste) ratchets up the amou nt of airborne mercury which eventually finds its way into lakes, rivers and the ocean, where it is gobbled up by unsuspecting fish and other marine life. reproductive troubles and nervous system disorders. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that human fetuses exposed to mercury before birth "may be at an increased risk of poor performance on neurobehavioral tasks, such as those measuring attention, fine motor function, language skills, visual-spatial abilities and verbal memory." Up to 10 percent of American women of childbearing age carry enough mercury in their bloodstreams to put their developing children at increased risk for developmental problems. In partnership with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the EPA issues determinations periodically in regard to how much mercury is safe for consumers to ingest from eating fish. State and tribal environmental authorities and/or health departments issue fish consumption advisories for water bodies in their respective jurisdictions based on federal guidelines. The EPA consolidates these local and regional advisories on its website, where concerned consumers and fisher folk can click on a map of the d Once mercury gets into the marine food chain, mostly from human industrial sources such as coal-fired electricity generation, smelting and the incineration of waste, it "bioaccumulates " in the larger ocean predators. That's why larger fish -- like the bluefin tuna pictured here -- are generally riskier to eat than smaller ones. photo: iSteck/Thinkstock Once this mercury gets states to find out which advisories into the marine food chain, it may be in effect in their area. "bioaccumulates" in the larger As for which fish to avoid, predators. That's why larger fish the non-profit Environmental are generally riskier to eat than Defense Fund (EDF), which runs smaller ones. Those of us who the handy Seafood Selector eat too much mercury-laden website, reports that people with fish can suffer from a range mercury concerns should steer of health maladies including clearofbluefintuna, walleye, king mackerel and marlin. Bluefish, shark, swordfish, wild sturgeon, opah and bigeye tuna carry a proportionately large mercury burden as well. Also of concern, but to a slightly lesser extent, are orange roughy, Chilean sea bass, blue crab, lingcod, Spanish mackerel, spotted seatrout, wahoo, grouper, snapper, halibut, tile fish, rock fish and sable fish, as well as blackfin, albacore and yellowfin tuna. Beyond what individuals can do to avoid mercury, the U.S. government and states have begun working together to reduce mercury emissions from power plants. Earlier this year the EPA proposed new "Mercury and Air Toxics Standards" regulating mercury emissions from utilities across the country, with the goal of reducing the amount of mercury emitted by coal burning by 91 percent by 2016. Elsewhere, representatives from 140 countries signed on to reduce global mercury pollution at a 2009 United Nations Environment Program's Governing Council meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. The agreement commits signatory countries-- including the U.S.--to cutting back on the use and em ssion of mercury. A legally binding treaty mandating just how much each country will have to cut back mercury emissions takes hold in 2013. CONTACTS: EPA Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, airquality/powerplanttoxics/," EDF Seafood Selector,! page.cfm?taglD= 1521 EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is aregistered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine (www. Send questions to: Subscribe: www. emagazine, corn/ subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www. A new portable power pack makes it possible to keep mobile phones and other high-tech devices charged while on the go. The Platinum Rechargeable Power Paek from Rayovae is only available at Walmart Learn more at www.rayovae. com. One great way to get your kids excited about nature is the new Nature Trackers initiative during season two of "Dinosaur Train" on PBS KIDS. In conjunction, The Jim Henson Company offers downloadable activity kits kids can do with their families at dinosaurtram. The Good Old Days? I often think of the "good old days", when life was simpler and better. But recently I began thinking .about the old days when I was eating watermelon in December. Were those good old days really so great in every way? When I was growing up I had at most two pairs of shoes. School shoes and church shoes. I'm a woman of modest means and I have more shoes than freckles on a redheads nose. I haven't worn a hole in a sole since I was very young nor put cardboard cutouts in the soles to keep the wet and cold out like I did as a child Now-a-days shoes are so cheap that most everyone, who isn't homeless, is in the same shoe situation that I am. When my children were small I made all of our clothes. I even made a little tuxedo for my youngest son when he was ~n my middle daughters wedding. I couldn't afford to buy clothes at a store in those years. I haven't made a garment nn years and my clothes closet won't hold all my clothes. Now-a-days clothes are so inexpensive that it's rare for anyone to still make their own clothes except as a hobby. Some of the best inventions of the 20th century (in my book) are permanent pressed clothes. No more hot iron to slave over every week. And no more cleaning a chicken (YUK), or having to buy a whole chicken when you only eat the white meat. ,:And back to the watermelon thirig We had watermelon and cantaloup in the summer, not. in December. Fresh fruit was in the season thereof, not all year long. I'm not sure that even rich people had watermelon in December, or pineapple and crisp, crunchy December 14, 2011 apples all year long. Oh we had apples for a long season, because we had apple trees, but along about November we started eating the apple that had a bit of rot on it, before it all went bad and affected the ones next to it. But to have a crunchy, juicy apple in April, was only in my dreams: Vegetables were the same. Tomatoes all year long? An endless array of beautiful, fresh, healthy vegetables? No way. What a blessing to pick and choose from a whole section of this wholesome fare, no matter what the season. My car can go 75 mph all day long endlessly. No fiat tires, no vapor lock,-no boiling radiator. In the summer the air conditioner keeps me cool with out being blown to pieces by hot air coming in the window, with a wet cloth draped over me. When it is cold out, the heater works to perfection. It's all standard equipment. So I have had to rethink my take on the good old days. Yes, I think that morally we were a better people; Life was simpler when we were young, but in many basic ways, life is a whole lot better right now in 2011. orts five teams make, the NCAA Tournament in men s basketball? 5. Name the person who was the first general manager of both the Philade,lphia Flyers (1967) and the Vancouver Canucks (1970). 6. In 2011, Llruguay won the men's soccer COPA America for a record 15th time. What country had been tied with Uruguay at 14?. 1. The past two times the Cincinnati Reds made the playoffs (1995, 2010), they did so despite having only two pitchers win 10-plus games each time. Name two of the four pitchers. 2. When was the last time a pitcher captured the A.L. Cy Young Award with 16 or fewer wins in a season before Zack Greinke in 2009? 3. In 2010, Baltimore's Anquan Boldin became the fastest NFL receiver to 600 career receptions (98 games). Who had been the fastest? 4. When was the last time the Atlantic 10 Conference had 7. In 1988, two boxers, within three days of one another, became the first two to win five world titles in five different weight divisions. Name them. answers on page 14 General Contractor Contractor Electrical General Contractor New Construction Room Additions Decks Remodels Over 35 Years Experience Lawrence Noble, Owner Julian Resident for 27 years State Lic. 602654 760" 765" 2363 PC Box 1342 JULIAN, CA 92036 Drilling Cahfom~a Contractor Lic. # 455959 SERVICE Complete Water Systems Sales & Repair "Your Complete Water Systems Company Since t981" 765-1246 . 789-9976 P, O. 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