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Re: E-M:/ "FIRST IN THE NATION" MERCURY LAW passed in RhodeIsland

Enviro-Mich message from Charles Griffith <charlesg@ecocenter.org>

While a good model, unfortunately even the R.I. proposed law won't
deal with the mercury problem in vehicles already on the road.  It
will only require "take-back" or collection of mercury-containing
products sold after 2003.

-Charles Griffith

At 9:43 PM -0500 7/1/01, Anne Woiwode wrote:
>Enviro-Mich message from "Anne Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>
>With growing interest in local units in Michigan passing mercury control
>ordinances, this looks like an exciting prospect --  AW
>For Immediate Release
>Contact:  Sheila Dormody, Clean Water Action (401) 331-6972
>Michael Bender, Mercury Policy Project (802) 223-9000
>Rhode Island Passes First-in-the-Nation
>Legislation to Prevent Mercury Pollution
>Providence, RI-In a precedent-setting national first, the Rhode Island
>General Assembly passed legislation on June 29, 2001 for eliminating mercury
>pollution, phasing out mercury products, requiring manufacturer "take back"
>programs, and reducing human exposure to mercury.
>The bills, H-6161 and S-661 sponsored by Representative Peter Ginaitt and
>Senator John Tassoni, passed unanimously and featured several components
>have not passed in any other state,  including:
>· Phasing out the sale of products containing mercury (e.g. thermostats,
>sphygmomanometers, manometers) sold in Rhode Island over the next six years.
>· Requiring manufacturers to "take back" product discards containing mercury
>sold in Rhode Island by holding them responsible to establish effective
>collection programs.
>· Requiring state dental insurance contracts to include coverage for
>non-mercury fillings at no extra expense to the state employee.
>"We strongly encourage Governor Almond to sign these landmark mercury bills
>into law immediately," said Sheila Dormody, Rhode Island director of Clean
>Water Action, one of the environmental groups leading the campaign to
>the legislation. "Rhode Island has the opportunity to set the standard
>nationally with these efforts to protect the public, and future generations,
>from this dangerous toxin."
>Mercury is a dangerous toxin that is released into the environment through
>coal burning, use and disposal of products containing mercury and threatens
>the environment, wildlife and human health. Eating fish contaminated with
>mercury can cause damage to the nervous system.  Growing babies are
>especially vulnerable--therefore pregnant women should not eat
>mercury-contaminated fish.  Data from a recent Center for Disease Control
>study found that at least one in ten women of childbearing contain mercury
>their bodies at levels not considered protective.  According to the National
>Academy of Sciences, prenatal mercury exposure can later hurt children's
>ability to remember, pay attention, talk, draw, run and play.  Scientists
>estimate that if all man made mercury pollution would stop today, it would
>take 15 years or more before mercury levels in fish were at safe levels.
>"By holding producers responsible for the often costly collection of
>hazardous mercury products, they'll now have an added incentive to not use
>toxics materials,"  said Michael Bender  of the Mercury Policy Project.
>"Cities, counties and states across the U.S. will now view Rhode Island as
>the national model for reducing mercury pollution by shifting the burden of
>responsibility to the manufacturer."
>Before passing this legislation, Rhode Island received a D-the lowest grade
>in the region-on a report card released yesterday by the Zero Mercury
>Campaign.* The report graded progress made by each New England state toward
>the goals of eliminating mercury emissions by 2010 and protecting the public
>from mercury contaminated fish. (The report is available at
>www.mercurypolicy.org.) When Governor Almond signs the legislation, Rhode
>Island's grade will improve to a C+.
>*The New England Zero Mercury Campaign consists of environmental and public
>health organizations from across New England. In Rhode Island, Clean Water
>Action and the Sierra Club Rhode Island Chapter have joined the campaign to
>call for zero mercury use, release and exposure by 2010 and graded the Rhode
>Island efforts to achieve this goal.
>ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
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