|00:00:00||SCHAKOWSKY: LAST WEEK I OFFERED AN AMENDMENT THAT GAVE US THE OPPORTUNITY TO DEMONSTRATE THAT WE ARE AWARE OF THE IMPACTS OF OUR ACTIONS.|
|00:00:09||WE FAILED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THAT OPPORTUNITY AND TODAY WE HAVE ANOTHER CHANCE AND I HOPE THAT WE'LL TAKE IT.|
|00:00:14||MY AMENDMENT SIMPLY INCLUDES IN THE FINDING SECTION OF THE BILL, CREATES A FINDING SECTION, IF YOU WILL, THE SCIENTIFIC FACT THAT MERCURY RELEASED INTO THE AMBIAN AIR FROM INDUSTRIAL BOILERS AND WASTE INCINERATORS IS A POTENT NEUROTOXIN THAT CAN DAMAGE THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN INFANT'S BRAIN.|
|00:00:37||THAT'S WHAT THE AMENDMENT SAYS.|
|00:00:38||IT INSERTS THE FOLLOWING SECTION INTO THE FINDINGS AND IT SAYS, THE CONGRESS FINDS THAT MERCURY RELEASED INTO THE AFTERIAN AIR FROM STROIL -- AMBIAN AIR FROM INDUSTRIAL BOILERS AND WASTE INCINERATORS IS A POTENT NEUROTOXIN THAT CAN DAMAGE THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN INFANT'S BRAIN.|
|00:00:59||MERCURY IS ONE OF THE MOST HARMFUL TOXINS IN OUR ENVIRONMENT.|
|00:01:03||48 TONS OF MERCURY IS PUMPED INTO OUR AIR EACH YEAR THREATENING ONE IN SIX WOMEN WORLDWIDE WITH DANGEROUS MERCURY EXPOSURE.|
|00:01:11||PREGNANT WOMEN, INFANTS AND YOUNG CHILDREN ARE MOST VULNERABLE TO MERCURY POISONING WHICH HARMS A CHILD TO READ, WRITE, WALK, TALK AND COMPREHEND.|
|00:01:23||LOW LEVEL MERCURY EXPOSURE CAN CAUSE ADVERSE HEALTH EFFECTS.|
|00:01:28||UP TO 10% OF U.|
|00:01:29||S. WOMEN OF CHILDBEARING AGE ARE ESTIMATED TO HAVE MERCURY LEVELS HIGH ENOUGH TO PUT THEIR DEVELOPING CHILDREN AT INCREASED RISK FOR COGNITIVE PROBLEMS.|
|00:01:38||DURING THE DEBATE ON MY MERCURY FINDINGS AMENDMENT LAST WEEK, MY FRIEND, MR.|
|00:01:44||WHITFIELD, STATED, "THE SCIENTIFIC UNDERSTANDING OF MERCURY IS CERTAINLY FAR MORE COMPLICATED THAT IS REFLECTED IN THIS FINDING THAT ASKS TO BE INCLUDED IN THIS BILL.|
|00:01:54||" I REALLY DON'T KNOW WHAT HE FINDS SO COMPLICATED.|
|00:01:57||THE SCIENCE IS VERY STRAIGHTFORWARD.|
|00:01:59||IN 2000, THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES ISSUED A REPORT ON THE TOXIC EFFECTS OF MERCURY.|
|00:02:05||OVER AND OVER THE REPORT DETAILS THE TOXICITY OF MERCURY IN VERY STARK TERMS.|
|00:02:13||"MERCURY IS HIGHLY TOXIC.|
|00:02:14||EXPOSURE TO MERCURY CAN RESULT IN ADVERSE EFFECTS IN SEVERAL ORGAN SYSTEMS THROUGHOUT THE LIFE SPAN OF HUMANS AND ANIMALS.|
|00:02:21||THERE IS EXTENSIVE DATA ON THE EFFECTS OF MERCURY ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF BRAINS OF HUMANS AND ANIMALS.|
|00:02:29||" HIGH DOSE EXPOSURES -- IT GOES ON TO SAY, "MENTAL RETARDATION, CEREBAL PALSY, SENSORY AND MOTOR IMPAIRMENT IN EXPOSED ADULTS.|
|00:02:43||" THERE'S ANOTHER QUOTE.|
|00:02:45||"CHRONIC, LOW-DOSE PRENATAL MERCURY EXPOSURE FROM INTERNAL CONSUMPTION OF FISH," HAS BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH IMPACTS ON ATTENTION, FINE MOTOR FUNCTION, LANGUAGE AND VERBAL MEMORY.|
|00:02:56||OVERALL DATA INDICATE THAT, "THE DEVELOPING NERVOUS SYSTEM IS A TARGET ORGANIZEON FOR LOW DOSE MERCURY EXPOSURE.|
|00:03:07||" . "PRENATAL EXPOSURES INTERFERE WITH THE GROWTH AND MIGRATION OF NEURONS AND HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO CAUSE IRREVERSIBLE DAMAGE TO THE DEVELOPING CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM.|
|00:03:17||" WHAT IS SO COMPLICATED BY THAT.|
|00:03:21||P.A. INDUSTRIAL BOILER AND WASTE INCINERATORS STANDARDS WOULD REDUCE THIS MAJOR THREAT WITHOUT UNDO BURDEN TO INDUSTRY.|
|00:03:30||THE LEGISLATION WE CONSIDER TODAY WILL BLOCK E.|
|00:03:34||P.A.'S EFFORTS. IT WILL SEND E.|
|00:03:36||P.A. BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD WITH NEW, UNTESTED AND LEGALLY VULNERABLE GUIDANCE FOR SETTING AIR POLLUTION STANDARDS AND MOST TROUBLING, IT WILL INDEFINITELY DELAY ANY REQUIREMENT TO ACTUALLY REDUCE POLLUTION FROM INDUSTRIAL BOILERS AND WASTE INCINERATORS.|
|00:03:51||THE GENTLEMAN SAID THERE HAS TO BE AN END DATE.|
|00:03:54||THIS LEGISLATION SAYS THERE DOESN'T HAVE TO BE AN END DATE.|
|00:03:57||MY COLLEAGUES ACROSS THE AISLE TALK A LOT ABOUT NOT WANTING TO BURDEN THE NEXT GENERATION WITH DEBT.|
|00:04:03||WHERE IS THEIR CONCERN WITH BURDENING THE NEXT GENERATION WITH REDUCED BRAIN CAPACITY?|
|00:04:10||BUT EVEN CONSIDERING THE VERY SERIOUS POLICY DIFFERENCES WE HAVE TODAY, MY AMENDMENT SHOULD BE NONCONTROVERSIAL.|
|00:04:16||IT WOULD NOT ALTER THE GOALS OR THE IMPLEMENTCATION OF THE PENDING LEGISLATION.|
|00:04:20||IT SIMPLY RECOGNIZES WHAT -- IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PENDING LEGISLATION.|
|00:04:25||IT SIMPLY RECOGNIZES WHAT THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY TELLS US ABOUT MERCURY.|
|00:04:29||WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO BRIDGE OUR POLICY DIFFERENCES IF WE CANNOT AGREE ON THE BASIC POLICIES OF SCIENCE.|
|00:04:36||R. 2250 PATENTLY IGNORES THE SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN FACT THAT MERCURY EXPOSURE INHIBITS BRAIN DEVELOPMENT, ESPECIALLY IN INFANTS.|
|00:04:46||IF WE ARE PREPARED TO PASS LEGISLATION THAT WOULD JEOPARDIZE THE HEALTH OF CHILDREN, WE SHOULD BE WILLING, MINIMALLY, TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE SCIENTIFIC FACT THAT E.|
|00:04:56||P.A. INACTION POSES A SERIOUS HEALTH RISK.|
|00:04:59||LAST WEEK WE FAILED TO MOTE OUR OBLIGATION TO RECOGNIZE THE CONSEQUENCES OF OUR ACTIONS.|
|00:05:04||LET'S NOT REPEAT THIS MISTAKE.|
|00:05:07||I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO SUPPORT THIS AMENDMENT THAT SIMPLY PUTS A SCIENTIFIC FACT INTO THE LEGISLATION.|
Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Last week I offered an amendment that gave us the opportunity to demonstrate that we are aware of the impacts of our actions. We failed to take advantage of that opportunity, and today we have another chance, and I hope we will take it.
My amendment simply includes in the findings section of the bill, creates a findings section, if you will, the scientific fact that mercury released into the ambient air from industrial boilers and waste incinerators is a potent neurotoxin that can damage the development of an infant's brain. That's what the amendment says. It inserts the following section into the findings, and it says the Congress finds that mercury released into the ambient air from industrial boilers and waste incinerators addressed by the rules listed in section 2(b) of this act is a potent neurotoxin that can damage the development of an infant's brain.
Mercury is one of the most harmful toxins in our environment. Forty-eight tons of mercury is pumped into our air each year, threatening one in six women nationwide with dangerous levels of mercury exposure. Pregnant women, infants, and young children are most vulnerable to mercury poisoning, which harms a developing child's ability to walk, talk, read, write, and comprehend.
[Time: 16:40] Developing fetuses and children are especially at risk, as even low-level mercury exposure can cause adverse health effects. Up to 10 percent of U.S. women of childbearing age are estimated to have mercury levels high enough to put their developing children at increased risk for cognitive problems.
During the debate on my mercury findings amendment last week, my friend Mr. Whitfield stated, ``The scientific understanding of mercury is certainly far more complicated than is reflected in this finding that asks to be included in this bill.'' I really don't know what he finds so complicated. The science is very straightforward.
In 2000 the National Academy of Sciences issued a report on the toxic effects of mercury. Over and over, the report details the toxicity of mercury in very stark terms. ``Mercury is highly toxic. Exposure to mercury can result in adverse effects in several organ systems throughout the lifespan of humans and animals. There are extensive data on the effects of mercury on the development of the brain in humans and animals.'' High-dose exposures can cause ``mental retardation, cerebral palsy, deafness, and blindness'' in individuals exposed in utero, and sensory and motor impairment in exposed adults.
``Chronic, low-dose prenatal mercury exposure from maternal consumption of fish'' has been associated with impacts on attention, fine motor function, language, and verbal memory. Overall, data indicate that ``the developing nervous system is a sensitive target organ for low-dose mercury exposure.
``Prenatal exposures interfere with the growth and migration of neurons and have the potential to cause irreversible damage to the developing central nervous system.'' What is so complicated about that? The EPA industrial boiler and waste incinerator standards would reduce this major threat without undue burden to industry. The legislation we consider today will block EPA's efforts. It will send EPA back to the drawing board with new, untested, and legally vulnerable guidance for setting air pollution standards. And most troubling, it will indefinitely delay any requirement to actually reduce pollution from industrial boilers and waste incinerators.
The gentleman said there has to be an end date. This legislation says there doesn't have to be an end date.
My colleagues across the aisle talk a lot about not wanting to burden the next generation with debt. Where is their concern with burdening the next generation with reduced brain capacity? But even considering the very serious policy differences we have today, my amendment should be noncontroversial. It would not alter the goals or the implementation of the pending legislation. It simply recognizes what scientists and the public health community tell us about mercury.
We will never be able to bridge our policy differences if we can't even agree on basic facts of science. H.R. 2250 patently ignores the scientifically proven fact that mercury exposure inhibits brain development, especially in infants. If we are prepared to pass legislation that would jeopardize the health of children, we should be willing minimally to acknowledge the scientific fact that EPA inaction poses a serious health risk.
Last week we failed to meet our obligation to recognize the consequences of our actions. Let's not repeat this mistake. I urge my colleagues to support this amendment that simply puts a scientific fact into the legislation.
I yield back the balance of my time.