Mercury pollution and fertilizer producing plants

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The Environmental Protection Agency requires 33 Florida industrial facilities to report annually the amount of mercury compounds disposed of or released from their facilities. Mosaic Fertilizer LLC owns and operates the top three mercury compound disposal or release facilities in Florida for 2020, the number four being PCS Phosphates.

According to the latest available data from the EPA Explorer Toxic Release Inventory, total disposal or other releases onsite and offsite for Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC operations in Florida totaled 11,404 pounds of mercury compounds for 2020.

NEW WALES PLANT (POLK COUNTY) 5,501 lbs.

BARTOW PLANT (POLK COUNTY) 3,003 lbs.

RIVERVIEW PLANT (HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY) 2,900 lbs.

PCS PHOSPHATE WHITE SPRINGS (HAMILTON) 1,883 lbs.

Source: United States Environmental Protection Agency. TRI Explorer Dataset Internet database. Retrieved April 16, 2022.

Mercury is a toxic pollutant that has a significant impact on human health and the environment. Mercury can enter the food chain and eventually end up on the dinner table in the form of marine and freshwater fish and shellfish. Mercury is extremely toxic and there is no safe exposure level for humans. Mercury can cause brain damage, especially in children under the age of six.

Mercury pollution is a known killer of the endangered Florida panther. Great egrets, bald eagles and wood storks, which feed primarily on fish in the Everglades, have tested positive for toxic levels of mercury.

Mercury can enter the food chain and eventually end up on the dinner table in the form of marine and freshwater fish and shellfish. Mercury is extremely toxic and there is no safe exposure level for humans. Mercury can cause brain damage, especially in children under the age of six. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that one in 12 women in the United States has absorbed enough mercury to pose a threat to a developing fetus.

Health risks associated with mercury become economic costs for people exposed to mercury. Mercury pollution threatens the region’s tourism, recreational and commercial fishing industries.

There is ample scientific evidence that mercury is a toxic pollutant that needs to be dealt with. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the nervous system is very sensitive to all forms of mercury. Mercury can permanently damage the brain, kidneys and developing fetus. Small children are more sensitive to mercury than adults.

Until phosphate mining, fertilizer processing, and phosphogypsum disposal are fully reviewed, we will never fully appreciate the true public health and environmental impact of the phosphate industry in Florida.

Glenn Compton is the Chairman of ManaSota 88, a non-profit organization that has worked to protect the environment in Manatee and Sarasota counties for over 30 years.

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