During a committee debate over how much mercury the nation’s power plants should be allowed to emit, Congressmember Lois Capps revealed that a recent test of her own hair revealed mercury levels higher than what the EPA deems safe for child-bearing women. The analysis revealed mercury levels of 1.4 parts per million; the acceptable level, according to the EPA, is 1.2 parts per million. Capps was seeking to dramatize the risk posed by mercury to millions of people, not just those living close to power plants. The EPA is mandated by a court settlement to adopt mercury emissions standards by the end of the year, but Republicans on the Energy and Power Subcommittee, on which Capps sits, approved an amendment that would delay that by a year.


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