Mercury emissions in Maine and the United States have been reduced over the years due to State and Federal government efforts; but mercury still poses a problem. Maine has taken action like banning mercury thermometers to cut down on mercury pollution but there is still concern.
“Well there’s widespread concern about mercury pollution, in fact we have a statewide fish consumption advisory, due to the presence of mercury in fish,” says Fred Corey the Environmental Director.
Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that is present throughout the environment and primarily affects children and fetuses. Pregnant women especially are limited on their fish consumption. The Micmacs, state, and federal partners are all very excited to have this technology in Maine, because the closest one is in Vermont.
“This is the only site in the state of Maine and it really provides an important source of data on atmospheric mercury concentrations,” says Corey.
This system is also part of the National Atmospheric Deposition Program’s Atmospheric Monitoring Network.
“There’s about 20 globally, I think there’s 16 sites here in North America, so we’re one of the 16 sites. All of the sites that are members of that network are collecting data in a consistent manner, so concentration can be compared from site to site.”
After all the data is checked and processed, it is sent throughout the world for researchers to use. According to the EPA, this project will help people better understand human health, environmental, and cultural resource risks from mercury pollution in the region.