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E-M:/ Kmart, Meijer to stop selling merc. thermometers



------------------------------------------------------------------------- Enviro-Mich message from Mary Beth Doyle -------------------------------------------------------------------------
FOR IMMEDATE RELEASE
September 26, 2000

Press contacts:
Ecology Center, Mary Beth Doyle 734-663-2400 ext. 108
Kmart Corporation, Julie Fracker, 248-614 1478
Meijer's Supermarkets, John Zimmerman, 616-791 5267
Health Care Without Harm, Betsy DeSoye, Jen McDonnell 914-833 7093

TWO MICHIGAN-BASED RETAILERS TO STOP SELLING MERCURY THERMOMETERS

Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) announced today that eleven leading retailers and manufacturers, including Michigan-based Kmart Corporation and Meijer's Supermarkets, have received HCWH's "Mercury in Flight" awards for deciding to end sales of mercury fever thermometers. Other companies being honored are Albertson's, Brooks Pharmacy, drugstore.com, Kinney Drugs, Safety 1st, Target, The First Years, Toys 'R Us/Babies 'R Us and Wal Mart.

"We are pleased to see these corporations join the cities of Ann Arbor, Duluth and San Francisco in recognizing that mercury fever thermometers present an unacceptable and unnecessary risk" said Mary Beth Doyle of the Ecology Center. Earlier this year, Ann Arbor, Duluth and San Francisco passed ordinances banning the retail sale of mercury thermometers within city limits.

Cathy Polley, Director of Pharmacy Government and Trade Relations at Kmart, said that Kmart agreed with HCWH that it was in their customers' best interest to terminate sales of mercury fever thermometers. "Kmart has always been committed to providing our customers with affordable products that keep them safe and healthy. And we are proud to be part of the Health Care Without Harm effort that is extending this belief throughout our communities by encouraging the end of mercury thermometer sales," said Polley.

When asked about expected customer reaction to no longer seeing the familiar mercury fever thermometer on the shelves of their 142 stores, John Zimmerman, Director of Communications and Customer Relations at Meijer's, said, "Is it inconvenient to change from mercury fever thermometers to digital ones? Yes, in the sense that we're taking away something our customers expect to find on our shelves --that's never a comfortable position for a retailer to be in. In the case of mercury fever thermometers, however, the benefits to our customers of withdrawing this product from our shelves clearly outweighs the inconvenience."

The Ecology Center is a founding member of Health Care Without Harm, a not-for-profit collaborative campaign of 290 organizations in 27 different countries working to eliminate pollution from healthcare practices without compromising safety or care. In order to reduce mercury emissions, HCWH has approached not only retailers and manufacturers, but consumers and health care providers as well. To date, HCWH has encouraged 600 hospitals and clinics, including 36 hospitals in Michigan, to take the pledge.

Very small amounts of mercury can wreak significant environmental and health problems. Mercury is particularly dangerous to women of childbearing years, pregnant women and young children; a recent study by the National Academy of Sciences National Research Council warned that at least 60,000 babies per year could be at risk for lower IQ and learning disabilities because their mothers have eaten mercury-contaminated fish and seafood.

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Mary Beth Doyle, MPH
Environmental Health Project
Ecology Center
117 N. Division
Ann Arbor MI 48104

734-663-2400 ext 108
734-663-2414 (fax)




Mary Beth Doyle, MPH
Environmental Health Project
Ecology Center
117 N. Division
Ann Arbor MI 48104

734-663-2400 ext 108
734-663-2414 (fax)

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