Moms-to-be who are worried about mercury in seafood and its potential impact on the neurological development of their babies may have good reason to fret. An analysis of hair samples sponsored by Greenpeace and conducted by the University of North Carolina at Asheville found that in 21% of the women of childbearing age tested, ages 16 to 49, mercury levels exceeded the EPA's recommended limit. What's the cause? The biggest single factor was seafood consumption. The nation's biggest mercury polluter? Coal-burning power plants.
The study has so far examined samples from 1,500 volunteers. Greenpeace is also organizing tests at public events and hair salons. To participate in the study order a home test from greenpeaceusa.org A final report is due next spring. --By David Bjerklie