In utero exposure to methylmercury from power plants and seafood is associated with lifelong loss of intelligence and billions of dollars in lost productivity.
Public health and economic consequences of methyl mercury toxicity to the developing brain
Trasande L, Landrigan PJ, Schechter C. Public health and economic consequences of methyl mercury toxicity to the developing brain. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2005;113(5):590-596.
This study shows that the IQ losses associated with methylmercury toxicity cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars in lost productivity each year. Hundreds of thousands of American children in any given year have cord blood levels of methylmercury associated with lowered intelligence, traceable to in utero exposure to power plant emissions or to maternal seafood consumption. The loss of intelligence that results “causes diminished economic productivity that persists over the entire lifetime of these children”—amounting to about $8.7 billion annually.