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California's massive wildfires releasing mercury into the air, contaminating soil across North America

Forest fires

(NaturalNews) 2015 was the most devastating year for wildfires in the U.S. More than 10 million acres of forest burned to the ground as raging fires took advantage of dry conditions and crowded, poorly managed forests. The U.S. Forest Service has spent tremendous amounts of resources to put out the fires – resources that could have been used to log the forests, build trails and prevent the fires in the first place.

For the first time ever, the Forest Service spent more than half of their budget combating fires. Ravaged lands are left behind as people are evacuated. Even worse, the fires release tremendous amounts of mercury into the air. While industrial sources are often blamed for the mercury contamination of the environment, one of the most overlooked sources of mercury is from forest fires. A 2007 National Center for Atmospheric Research study showed that 30 percent of mercury contamination of soils and fragile ecosystems today is the result of forest fires. Mercury from industrial pollution settles in the forest and is held there, until forest fires send the mercury from the burning vegetation into the sky.

Over 40 tons of mercury raining down on America annually, contaminating soil and food

After the displaced mercury is released into the air, it falls back down over North American farms, entering people's lungs and contaminating soils. This has a tremendously negative impact on the American food supply for years to come, especially in California where many different crops are grown. And the mercury doesn't distinguish itself between conventional and organic crops; it pollutes both. As the soil takes in the fallen mercury, it redistributes the neurotoxin to the crops, thus polluting the food products that America consumes. Some sources estimate that forest fires unleash 44 tons of mercury over Americans on an annual basis. This disaster silently contaminates food, and may be one of the reasons why many products tested at CWC Labs show high levels of mercury. This increased mercury intake also accelerates brain damage and cognitive dysfunction in a population that can hardly think straight already.

Senators seek emergency funding to fight wildfires, freeing up the Forest Service budget

Due to rising pressure from the states they represent, Senators Mike Crapo of Idaho and Ron Wyden of Oregon have sponsored a bill that would call on Congress to treat wildfires as national disasters. This would permit Congress to appropriate emergency funding for each state when emergency crews are forced to respond to wild fires. This would allow the U.S. Forest Service to utilize their entire budget for more preventative measures and to deal with other environmental pests.

In upstate New York, a natural pest called the emerald ash borer is threatening over a million ash trees. Since this directly impacts the manufacture of baseball bats in New York, Senator Schumer is also supporting the bill that would increase emergency funding for wildfires so that the Forest Service can deal with other pests that threaten entire industries and ways of life.

As the senators focus on their states' respective problems resulting from wildfires, they fail to see just how tragic the release of displaced mercury is to all Americans. As crop land absorbs the displaced toxic element, it's only a matter of time before people put contaminated food on their plates. Scientific testing of foods has never been more essential, and should also be of great concern to U.S. regulatory agencies, as the country suffers the continual cognitive decline of its citizenry.

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