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E-M:/ Release: Mothers Urge Gov. to Reduce Mercury this Mother's Day

For Immediate Release:                                            Contact:

May 5, 2005                                                                  Kate Madigan – PIRGIM (517) 664-2600

(517) 803-7450 cell



Michigan Mothers Ask Gov. Granholm to

Protect Children’s Health this Mother’s Day

 Mother’s Day Cards to Gov. Ask for Major Reductions in Mercury Pollution


Lansing, MI—Today the Learning Disabilities Association of Michigan, the Michigan Council for Maternal & Child Health, the Association for Children’s Mental Health and PIRGIM delivered Mother’s Day cards to the Governor from Michigan mothers urging her to act immediately to reduce toxic mercury pollution.


The cards ask Gov. Granholm: “This Mother’s Day, please give all Michigan mothers the best possible gift: Protect our children from toxic mercury pollution by requiring our state’s power plants to reduce mercury by 90% by 2010.”

“This Mother's Day, mothers are sending a loud and clear message to Governor Granholm to act now to reduce toxic mercury pollution,” said Tiffiany Leischner, Association for Children’s Mental Health Family Advocate and mother from Lansing.

“Mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants leads to serious health problems, including lowered IQ, impaired memory and vision, and attention deficit in young children,” said Paul Shaheen, Executive Director of the Michigan Council for Maternal & Child Health.  “We urge Michigan’s leaders to take prompt action to protect children’s health and reduce mercury by 90 percent.”


“As a mother and board member of the Learning Disabilities Association, I urge Governor Granholm to take action to protect all of Michigan's children from mercury,” said Amy Winans from Lansing. Last year, the Learning Disabilities Association of Michigan (LDA) launched a Healthy Children Project designed to bridge the gap between our knowledge of environmental factors that impact developing fetuses, the newborn or young children and the actions we are taking to minimize or eliminate those factors.  


“Like lead, mercury is a serious toxin that is especially harmful to children,” said PIRGIM Environmental Advocate Kate Madigan. “And just as we phased out leaded gasoline nearly 20 years ago, we have the technology to reduce mercury from its main source—power plants.”


Madigan added that, “Governor Granholm has shown that she is serious about protecting children’s health through her work to protect children from lead poisoning. Now she has the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy for Michigan’s children by reducing mercury from Michigan’s power plants.”


Nearly three years ago, Governor Granholm made a campaign promise to phase out and eliminate mercury pollution from Michigan’s power plants. She then created a working group of electric utilities and conservation groups to come up with a plan to phase out and eliminate mercury. In a September 2004 letter, the Governor wrote that the working group will develop “recommendations to reduce mercury emissions by 90 percent.” After eighteen months of discussion, the working group is scheduled to finalize its recommendations on May 19. Action by the state is expected to follow.


“I have wonderful memories of fishing with my grandchildren as they were growing up,” said Marlene Howe, Flint resident, grandmother of six and new great grandmother. “I want to know that my grandchildren and now great-grandchild will be able to fish in Michigan’s lakes and rivers without worrying that mercury pollution will do them harm.”


“Fortunately, technology is available today to effectively and affordably reduce power plant mercury pollution,” said National Wildlife Federation spokeswoman Zoe Lipman. “Investing in these new, cleaner, energy technologies adds Michigan jobs and it cleans up our air and water at the same time – that’s great for families!””


“Every day children are born in Michigan with health impacts from mercury pollution.” added Madigan. “We should not have to wait one more day to start seeing reductions of this known toxin.” 


Power plants are the single largest source of U.S. mercury emissions, contributing 41 percent of U.S. mercury emissions.  Michigan’s power plants emitted 2,714 lbs. of mercury in 2002, and our state has the second worst mercury hotspot in the country.  The principal way that people are exposed to mercury is by eating fish.  Unfortunately, mercury is so prevalent in Michigan’s waterways that the state health department has issued fish consumption advisories for every inland lake in the state



Kate Madigan

PIRGIM Environmental Advocate