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National medical and public health groups sue EPA

Washington, D.C., June 14, 2005 Four leading medical, nursing and public health groups, representing more than 300,000 public health professionals, today filed a challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) power plant mercury rule. The plaintiffs include Physicians for Social Responsibility, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Nurses Association and the American Public Health Association.

The medical and health groups, represented by John Suttles and Marily Nixon of the Southern Environmental Law Center, are filing a 'motion for intervention' into the mercury litigation initiated by environmental organizations and 13 state attorneys general. The groups are filing the new lawsuit in response to the mercury rule's clear threat to public health.. Physicians, nurses, and other public health professionals will ask the federal courts to overturn the weak mercury rule to protect Americans' health. (Copies of the filed legal documents and state-specific fish advisories will be posted on www.mercuryaction.org on June 14.)

Many Americans are exposed to unsafe levels of mercury from environmental sources, including power plant emissions, by eating contaminated fish. EPA investigators have estimated that over 600,000 newborns are born each year overexposed to unhealthy mercury levels in utero. According to widely accepted scientific research, mercury is a potent neurotoxicant that can cause developmental and learning disabilities, reduced IQ, and impaired motor skills in children, and altered sensation, impaired hearing and vision, and motor disturbances in adults linked directly to exposure from eating contaminated fish.

Mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants make up more than 40% of all emissions into the U.S. environment, the largest source of uncontrolled mercury pollution in the U.S.

The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to make public health its first and only priority, and the law mandates that these
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14-Jun-2005


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