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E-M:/ Michigan Environmental Council Capitol Special Update - 12/1/04

Public Access Sites - Limitations on Use - The House discharged from committee HB 4141 - a bill to limit the activities that can occur at a public access site to a lake river or stream (road ending).  The bill would specifically limit any boat hoists, docks unless authorized by the owner of the land, picnicking, sunbathing or lounging.  The House of Representatives is expected to take action on the bill Thursday (12/2).

Preventing Mercury Poisoning -
House Land Use Committee reports bills prohibiting the sale of thermostats containing mercury and the sale or use of blood pressure recording devices that contain mercury.

HB 6196 - A bill to prohibit the sale of thermostat devices containing mercury; prohibit.

HB 6198
- A bill to prohibit the sale or use of blood pressure recording devices that contain mercury.

The bills would need to be taken up on Thursday (12/2) by the entire House in order to be eligible for passage before the anticipated end of session for the year (12/9).

Background information:

1. Mercury is a toxic metal that, when ingested, can lead to neurological damage, especially for children.
2. One in six American women of childbearing age has enough mercury in her blood to pose a risk to her unborn child.

3. Health problems include attention and language deficits, impaired memory and cognition, and impaired visual and motor function. These can result in lowered intelligence, learning problems, and brain damage.

4. New evidence suggests that mercury contamination is also linked to a more variable heart rate in children. This is a risk factor for heart disease.

5. The sources of toxic mercury into our surroundings are well known.  There are alternatives for each of the products named in the bills which do not utilize mercury and sell for comparable costs. 

There is no good reason not eliminate the introduction of mercury into our environment from easily controlled, pathways such as thermostats. We are poisoning the children of today and tomorrow. 

Please contact House Speaker Rick Johnson (rijohnson@house.mi.gov,  (517) 373-1747) and Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema, (SenKSikkema@senate.michigan.gov, (517) 373-0797) and asked them to make sure this important step is taken before the end of the year. 

Submitted by:

James Clift
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Ste 2A
Lansing, MI 48912
(517) 487-9539