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Mercury is making the rounds in the news, with an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, a Lisa Jackson appearance on The Daily Show (and part two), and a bunch of angry blogs. From the angry blogger:

Famed science deniers Willie Soon and Paul Driessen, both of whom have worked for groups that accept cash from Exxon Mobil to pretend global warming isn’t happening, have a new crusade: Mercury denial!

That’s right: They have an op-ed in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal claiming that breathing toxic mercury isn’t bad for you.

Willie Soon, astronomer. And Paul Driessen, lobbyist with a degree in geology. Expertise in public health? Limited. Willingness to take cash from the coal polluters that pump tons of mercury into our air every year? Extensive.

What’s that? You want to know what actual medical researchers have to say about the subject? Fine, have it your way:

Note that the post begins with a personal attacks on the individuals (as well as their funding), and ignores the number of valid arguments brought up in the piece. It also ignores the similarly esteemed medical researchers have noted that the U.S. accounts for less than 1% of global mercury emissions, so eliminating our mercury emissions (which comes at a cost, despite Lisa Jackson’s assertion that it will create jobs for those who install mercury scrubbers) won’t have a significant effect on atmospheric mercury content, and thus the alleged negative health effects. This paper estimates that man-made mercury emissions account for approximately 30% of total annual emissions, with 70% coming from natural sources. As the WSJ piece notes, this helps to put the ‘coal plants are killing your babies’ into perspective:

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