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E-M:/ Mercury program tonight 9pm on PBS

-----Original Message-----
To:  H2E -- Hospitals for A Healthy Environment
Sent: Thursday, January 20, 2005 8:32 AM
Subject: [h2e] Mercury program this Friday on PBS

This Friday, January 21, the PBS program NOW will address the serious
impact of mercury on public health in the US (see below). We encourage
you to watch the program, and to let your associates know about it. (You
might even want to tape it for a screening at your facility as part of
your environmental training efforts.)

Though power plants emit large quantities of mercury directly to the
air, the manufacturing and end-of-life disposition of mercury-containing
devices and chemicals also release mercury to the environment, where it
builds up to levels that can impair health.  Health care's enormous
effort to eliminate these sources of contamination is a major factor in
making progress toward reducing environmental mercury contamination.
It's easy sometimes to lose track of why we are engaged in all the
mercury reduction and elimination activities we undertake on a daily
basis - this program can help remind us that those efforts constitute a
major contribution to improving pubic health in this country.
Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E)________________________________________________________________

     PBS Airdate: Friday January 21, 2005, at 9:00 p.m. on PBS.
    (Check local listings at http://www.pbs.org/now/sched.html.)
In America, a staggering one-in-six children born every year have
been exposed to mercury levels so high that they are at risk for
learning disabilities and cognitive impairment. That type of mercury
exposure is caused by eating certain kinds of fish, which contain high
levels of the toxin from both natural and man-made sources such as
emissions from coal-fired power plants.
One government analysis shows
that 630,000 children each year are exposed to potentially unsafe
mercury levels in the womb. If the government and its scientists know
about the mercury problem, why do so many people continue to be
poisoned? On Friday, January 21, 2005 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local
listings <http://www.pbs.org/now/sched.html> ), NOW's David Brancaccio
reports on the dangers of mercury in our food and examines how the
government is falling short in protecting consumers.
The broadcast
includes an interview with environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a
senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), who is
credited with leading the clean-up of the Hudson River. Recently,
Kennedy was tested for mercury and learned that his blood level was
nearly double the EPA's safe limit. "The environmentalists are dismissed
as tree huggers," says Kennedy. "But there's nothing radical about clean
air and clean water for our children."