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Greenpeace Helps Americans Test Themselves for Mercury Contamination

>From Grist Magazine 9/13/04

Greenpeace USA

Get Tested For Mercury Contamination

We invite mothers, children, and families to take part in the Greenpeace
National Mercury Testing Program. One out of every six children born in
America has elevated levels of mercury in their body. It's time to demand
protection of our health from mercury pollution emitted by coal fired power
plants and to promote renewable energy for America. Find out how you can be
part of our program by determining your own mercury level. Learn about our
upcoming events in Florida.

In an effort to raise awareness about human health hazards associated with
dirty energy, we are sponsoring a nationwide mercury testing project.
Through these tests, volunteers will help pressure the Bush administration
to make the switch from polluting fossil fuels, to healthier, renewable

Order a Test-Kit

The Dangers of Mercury

Mercury is a highly toxic chemical that can affect the central nervous
system. Personal exposure to mercury, especially in the womb, can cause
severe problems similar to those seen in other neurotoxins like lead:
inability to focus and pay attention, delayed language development, impaired
memory, vision and motor coordination, and problems processing information.

The largest emitter of mercury pollution is coal-fired power plants. It is
possible to reduce mercury emissions from these plants by 90 percent right
now, but the Bush Administration is trying to stall the clean up for at
least ten years. More than 500,000 people have contacted the Bush
Administration asking that mercury standards be strengthened, NOT weakened.

Get Tested!

We are asking volunteers to donate a small amount of hair for laboratory
analysis for mercury exposure.

Sign up as a volunteer and you will receive an information kit and for $25
you will receive sampling instructions, background documents about mercury,
and a consent form. Laboratory results will be confidential and will be
mailed to you within two to three weeks of the sample.

Thanks to the wonderful folks at the Environmental Quality Institute at the
University of North Carolina-Asheville, we are able to offer this test at a
fraction of the amount that it would cost at most commercial labs. The $25
cost covers all associated aspects of running this project, including
materials, mailings and analysis.

Recent Events in Pennsylvania

On August 6, we held our fourth event at "Hair by Conroy," - a salon in
South Pittsburgh, which graciously opened its doors to us. "When Greenpeace
asked to use my salon for hair sampling, I jumped at the chance. We need to
stop the dirty energy industry and the Bush administration from polluting
our air, water and food, passing the health risks on to the most vulnerable
among us, children and pregnant women," said salon owner Tom Conroy.

On July 27, over 150 residents who live in the shadow of the Hatfield's
Ferry coal plant gathered to volunteer a small portion of their hair. This
sampling event came a few weeks after activists raised attention to the
issue of power plant pollution with a large banner hang at the Hatfield's
Ferry plant.

View news coverage of the event from The Herald Standard:
Greenpeace collects hair samples for mercury-exposure tests and The
Observer Reporter: Greenpeace offers Greene County residents tests for
mercury contamination.

Senator Allen G. Kukovich, responsible for the county of Westmoreland,
District 39, has his hair sampled.
Elected officials and families gathered downtown at Harrisburg's Capital
Hair Salon on June 14, to volunteer their time and a small portion of their
hair for our study. We used this opportunity to highlight renewable energy
by showcasing our Rolling Sunlight solar demonstration vehicle outside the

State Representative and House Subcommittee Chairman on Energy, Greg Vitali,
stated, "The United States is at a critical juncture. It is time for our
nation's political leaders to pass legislation that will heavily invest in
clean energy like solar and wind power that is good for our people, our
environment, our economy and our future."

View news coverage of the event from WGAL: Greenpeace, Harrisburg Salon Test
Customers For Mercury

Event Kick Off

We kicked off our national hair testing project on May 4th with an exciting
event in Philadelphia, the first city in the country to pass a resolution
criticizing President Bush's mercury rollback.

In Philadelphia, local Salon owner Francis Saba volunteered the services of
his salon. Families from across the city gathered to learn more about
mercury poisoning and to volunteer their own hair samples.

View news coverage of the event from CBS: Greenpeace Tests For Mercury and
Philadelphia Weekly: Brushing up for Clean Air.
If you would like to organize a similar event, please email us at: