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pollution prevention news



Kids Health:  As if we needed another reason to support pollution 
prevention (P2), here’s 
one:  the health of children is at stake.  A report published in the 
New England Journal of Medicine traced exposure before birth to trace 
amounts of PCBs to “long-lasting deficits in a child’s intellectual 
development.”  Conducted by two Wayne State University researchers, the 
cited study found that 11-year-old children with the highest levels of 
exposure were three times as likely to have low normal I.Q. scores and 
twice as likely to be behind in reading comprehension as the group as a 
whole.  Researchers Dr. Sandra W. Jacobson and Joseph L. Jacobson 
concluded that the fetal brain damage caused by environmental exposure 
to PCBs was comparable to the damage found in children exposed to low 
levels of lead, according to the New York Times.

In a separate development the same week this month, EPA Administrator 
Carol Browner announced that the agency would focus all environmental 
protection standards on the risks that pollution poses to children.  
“The overall trend will be toward tighter standards,” Browner said.  
The policy change was based on the special risks faced by children 
because of their developing bodies, less robust immune systems, and 
disproportionate consumption of food, drink and air when compared to adults.

CMR Meeting:  A potentially valuable tool for P2, Michigan’s Critical 
Materials Register (CMR) and the related annual wastewater report 
(AWR), may go under the DEQ knife.  A “stakeholder meeting” has been 
scheduled for Oct. 30 in Lansing to entertain comments about reducing 
or eliminating the program.  MEC continues to argue that the CMR and 
AWR are important citizen right-to-know tools.  Our analysis shows that 
the CMR is superior in some ways to the EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory 
because it requires reporting of use as well as release of toxic 
chemicals, requires reporting of small quantities of toxics, and 
includes more chemicals.  We encourage MEC groups to join us at the 
meeting or to send written comments on the program to Leslie Bender, 
the DEQ’s regulatory reform specialist.  Please call if you want a copy 
of our two-page analysis of the CMR and AWR.

Turn Off the Lights, Prevent Pollution:  MEC is teaming with Urban 
Options of East Lansing to release a series of fact sheets on energy 
efficiency, a prime method of preventing pollution that also saves 
money in residences and businesses.  Based on information supplied by 
the Rocky Mountain Institute, the fact sheets give consumer, 
environmental, and economic information, and can be reproduced to 
respond to public requests. The first fact sheet is on lighting.  For 
copies, please call MEC or Urban Options (whose phone number is 
571-337-0422).