Once the element enters the water, mercury can be transformed into the toxic methyl mercury, which has been known to cause developmental problems in children. It primarily enters the body through the consumption of tainted fish after the mercury falls into a waterway, according to the state's Department of Health.
Reagan said his company is expected to finalize its DEIS by late February or early March and pointed out that the Ravena smoke stack emissions are far lower than many of the other cements plants of its kind around the nation.
Keri Powell, an attorney with Earthjustice, a non-profit environmental law firm, has repeatedly rallied against Lafarge and other mercury emitters around the state by asking the state to step up its regulatory powers.
"New York's cement kilns are the state's silent mercury polluters," Powell said last March. "For years, the Lafarge cement kiln has gotten a free pass from the federal government, which has neglected to set a national standard limiting mercury pollution from the cement industry. It's time for New York to step in and stop Lafarge from spewing this incredibly toxic poison in our air."
Reagan commented that although "existing cement plants in the U.S. are not regulated new cement plants are" and that Lafarge's plant has come in at or below the regulated totals emissions of the new cement plants.
There are approximately 220 employees that work at the Ravena Lafarge cement plant.