A "Hairy" Day at the Montana Capitol

 Helena, MT - Legislators will be getting free hair cuts today (Tuesday, 1/16/06). Their hair samples will be tested for mercury. Erin Thompson with Women's Voices for the Earth says their goal is to raise awareness of how common mercury contamination is, how it affects people's health, and what Montana can do to lessen exposure.

Montana legislators get a freebie today (Tuesday) - a free hair cut. Their hair samples are being collected to be tested for mercury. Erin Thompson with Women's Voices for the Earth says legislators will also answer some questions about their health - since mercury is connected to nervous system disorders and other problems...

"We're just trying to raise some awareness about the connection between human health impacts and mercury emissions."

Thompson says Montanans are exposed to mercury through certain types of fish, emissions from coal-fired power plants, and when mercury seeps into the air and water from landfills. The legislature is looking at a bill that would ban most mercury-containing consumer products to keep them out of the garbage. Some companies that sell mercury products are against the ban, saying they can be disposed of safely without a law.

Thompson says the proposed law would only ban products that have a comparable substitute available for about the same price...

"This would include things like thermostats, thermometers, other measuring devices like that that have another non-mercury alternative available." (end)

Editor's Note: Erin Thompson is at 406-543-3747. Hair samples will be collected today, noon to 1:30 pm.