Black Millennials 4 Flint Official Comment on the Mercury Air Toxics Standards (MATS) 2023

May 10, 2023 | BM4F Spotlights, Uncategorized, Young, Gifted & Green Blog Series | 0 comments

May 9, 2023

Black Millennials 4 Flint (BM4F) urges President Biden and EPA Administrator Regan to enact the strongest standards to cut climate pollution by enacting the strongest  Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. As the previous Trump administration gutted previous regulatory standards on mercury and other air toxics standards, there is significant transformational work needed to adequately and equitably address the public health disparities caused by legacy air pollution in largely Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and economically disenfranchised communities. According to the EPA EJ Screening tool, zip code 38116, a zip code where BM4F works and visits frequently: 

  • The Particulate Matter 2.5 EJ Index is 95, 2% higher than the U.S. average 
  • The Air Toxics Cancer Risk EJ Index is 94 out of a possible 100 (with 100 being the threshold for most at-risk) 
  • Air Toxics Respiratory HI EJ Index is 95, just 5 index points away from the most concerning index maximum of 100 

Depending on how much mercury is inhaled from the air, permanent lung damage and death may occur as well as long-term brain damage. Mercury exposure can also cause significant maternal health and reproductive health issues. For example, mercury exposure has a relation with:

  • polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • premature menopause
  • endometriosis
  • abnormal lactation (for breastfeeding and chestfeeding people)

Additionally, in pregnant women and child birthing people, mercury passes through the placental membrane, which can cause spontaneous abortions, premature births, congenital disabilities and challenges with fetal cognitive development. Every human being’s first environment, the womb, must be protected at all costs, and the establishment of the most stringent Mercury and Air Toxics Standards is paramount. 

Our CEO and President LaTricea D. Adams had the honor of standing alongside President Biden and EPA Administrator Regan at the signing of Executive Order 14096: Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All. The call to action this Executive Order embodies should manifest in the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, getting one step closer to truly achieving environmental justice for all. 

Another day without environmental justice, is another day Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and poor communities communities exist in a state of ecological peril. Today, we urge all applicable decision-makers to prioritize, trust, and uplift the voices of frontline communities and finalize the proposed Mercury Air Toxics Standards (MATS) no later than April 2024. 

Watch the full EPA Mercury Air Toxics Standards Hearing:

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