Citizens take mercury contamination personally by testing themselves.
Earlier this year, the Sierra Club initiated a program to test the hair of people across the country for mercury contamination. The process was simple: order a hair test kit for $25, snip off about half a gram of hair, and then answer some questions about fish consumption (the primary way most Americans are exposed to mercury), then send the sample to a lab and get the results.
|In April, more than 70 New Hampshire state
legislators took a break from debate to get
their hair clipped and tested for mercury. That
was the first of more than a dozen Sierra Clubsponsored hair-testing events across the
country, part of a national clinical study of
mercury contamination. Other testing sites
include: Salt Lake City, Utah; Bismarck, North
Dakota; Owensboro, Kentucky; Philadelphia,
Pittsburgh, and Ardmore, Pennsylvania;
Richmond, Virginia; Washington, D.C.; Grand
Marais, Minnesota; Madison, Wisconsin;
Chicago, Illinois; Indianapolis, Indiana; and San
Francisco, California (at the Sierra Summit).
|> MEASURE YOUR MERCURY
The Sierra Club’s Cathy Corkery organized an early hair-testing event in New Hampshire, where state legislators interrupted debate to take a little off the top. Since then, testing has spread across the country like wildfire, with testing events in more than a dozen locations, including at the Sierra Summit, and live on public radio in Minnesota.
It’s all part of a nationwide study to determine the level of mercury in the population. Preliminary results show a direct relationship between mercury levels and fish consumption.
To learn more and order your own test kit, go to sierraclub.org/mercury.
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