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Mercury Emissions Endanger Kids' Health

March 20, 2004

"Mercury Emissions Rule Geared to Benefit Industry, Staffers Say" (March 16) is truly shocking as it describes top Environmental Protection Agency officials, under pressure from the White House, proposing weak mercury emission rules, despite the serious hazard that mercury poses to developing brains in children and fetuses. What is particularly shocking is the officials' deliberate omission of a staff study of the scientific and economic factors (a normal, required procedure under standing executive orders) before issuing the proposal.

Coal-burning power plants would save billions of dollars by continuing to pollute the air with mercury and not installing cleaning or "scrubbing" devices -- while the nation's children would pay the price in brain damage. The proposal is so extreme that senior technical staffers at the EPA have rebelled and spoken to the press. Now it is time for the public to let the administration know that it must stop endangering our children to enhance an industry's profits.

Charles Wyle

Los Angeles

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