An environmental group is urging Olin Corporation to switch its Charleston, Tn., plant to a mercury-free process.
The group, Oceana, says the plant is the #1 source of mercury air pollution in Tennessee.
Oceana is holding a press conference on Wednesday to release a new report – Cleaning Up: Taking Mercury-Free Chlorine Production to the Bank.
The group is focusing on five chlorine plants "that refuse to switch to mercury-free technology, despite major financial and environmental benefits."
Officials said the Charleston plant "is showcased in the report as a major mercury polluter with no excuse for not switching. This press conference will outline the report’s findings and make it available to the media.
It will be at 11 a.m. at 490 Stuart Road NE in front of Olin's Chlor-Alkali Division Headquarters in Cleveland.
Those taking part include Suzanne Wisdom, Tennessee field organizer, Oceana, along with other concerned local citizens.
The five plants – or Filthy Five as the report labels them – are Ashta Chemicals in Ashtabula, Ohio; ERCO Worldwide in Port Edwards, Wis., PPG Industries in Natrium, W.Va. (with headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Olin Corporation’s two plants in Charleston, Tn., and Augusta, Ga. (with headquarters in Clayton, Mo.).
The report analyzes more than 115 chlorine plants "that are shifting or have successfully shifted to mercury-free technology, and shows how Olin could protect public health and the environment, while saving millions of dollars and increasing profits, simply by modernizing production technology. Oceana – an international conservation group – has repeatedly asked Olin and the three other companies operating mercury-based plants to shift to mercury-free technology as part of an ongoing campaign launched in 2005.
"Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin that gets released into the environment and ends up on our dinner plates. In April, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation issued an advisory that sensitive populations including children, pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid eating large mouth bass from a section of the Hiwassee River that includes the area around the Olin plant due to mercury contamination."