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Abstract

Environmental mercury has long been linked to adverse health impacts on human populations. Globally ubiquitous at ambient levels in air and water, it can reach potentially unsafe levels in fish as it biologically magnifies and accumulates through aquatic and marine food webs. Vulnerable communities, including many communities of color, are particularly at risk from fish-borne mercury. Despite the fact that coal-fired electric generating units have been recognized as major sources of environmental mercury since the 1970s, and that the Environmental Protection Agency discussed possible future regulations of mercury emissions from such plants in 1975, it was not until 2014 that the Obama administration promulgated the Mercury and Air Toxics Rule regulating such emissions – and not until 2016 that the rule appeared to be firmly in place after the Environmental Protection Agency’s revised findings promulgated in response to the Supreme Court’s remand in Michigan v. EPA.

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