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E-M:/ Senate bans sale of mercury products; House approval awaited


For Immediate Release: November 30, 2006


Contact:           Kate Madigan, Michigan Environmental Council, 517-487-9539, cell: 517-803-7450

                        Kim Pargoff, Environment Michigan, 517-485-1003, cell: 310-429-9160


Michigan Senate Bans Products Containing Mercury

Groups Urge House to Pass Bills before End of Year


Lansing— A ban on the sale of certain products containing mercury, including thermostats and blood pressure monitors, passed the Michigan Senate today. The House of Representatives now has until the end of December to pass these bills before session ends in order to protect Michigan’s children and the state’s unparalleled natural resources from unnecessary exposure to this neurotoxin.


“We applaud the Senate for taking this important first step towards removing toxic mercury from everyday products in Michigan homes, businesses, and hospitals,” said Kate Madigan, Deputy Policy Director for the Michigan Environmental Council.  “It is now up to our House members to embrace this critical opportunity to protect our children’s health and wildlife, and end their legislative session on a high note.”


Each year in the U.S. tons of toxic mercury is manufactured into products. When these products are sent to landfills, crushed in a garbage truck or demolition site, or burned in an incinerator, the mercury can be released into the environment.


Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that can affect brain development and, because of this, is particularly harmful to infants, children and pregnant women whose developing babies could be adversely affected. Once in the air and soil mercury makes its way into the rivers and lakes were it works up the food chain resulting in higher mercury concentrations in the fish we eat.


Fortunately, cost effective mercury-free alternatives to these products are readily available. The Senate’s bi-partisan bills would ban the sale of thermostats, blood pressure measuring devices, and esophageal dilators that contain mercury.


“Mercury is not only a major threat to public health, especially children’s health and learning, it is also a threat to our wildlife and environment” added Kim Pargoff, Advocate for Environment Michigan. “Many other states have acted decisively to phase out products containing mercury and Michigan should do the same. These bills are a great start.” 


These bills now must pass through the House Natural Resources, Great Lakes, Land Use, and Environment Committee, and then be voted on by the full House.