Mercury levels emitted from three Ohio power plants have more than doubled over the past few years. Why, you might ask? So the power company can save money, of course. We're in a recession, people!

A spokeswoman for the coal-fired plants, American Electric Power, tells the Columbus Dispatch:

"Coal seams vary significantly by mercury content," she said. "It just so happened that this coal had more."

Mercury is linked to nerve and kidney damage in children and is linked to brain damage and mental retardation in fetuses.

In times like these, every penny counts.

McHenry said AEP selects the coal it burns based on price, not pollutant content.

"Our obligation is to find the lowest-cost fuel and, if it meets emission limits, that's the coal we use," she said.

[Image via Getty]