Hair Samples Taken From Residents to Test Mercury Levels

Hair Samples Taken From Residents to Test Mercury Levels

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- It was safety, not style that drew dozens of residents to a Salt Lake City salon to get their hair cut.

Yesterday, dozens of people lined up at In The Mood Hair Design and Color for free mercury "body load" tests.

Scientists who have found fish consumption to be the main channel for mercury to enter the human food chain. Their research has led to estimates that 16-percent of women in the U-S have dangerous levels of mercury in their bodies.

Mercury has become a concern in Utah since February, when scientists reported finding high levels of methylmercury, the element's organic form, in the Great Salt Lake. Also, raising concerns are gold mines upwind of Salt Lake City near Elko, Nevada, that emit thousands of pounds of mercury every year.

The hair-tests will be sent to a lab at the University of North Carolina. Sierra Club spokesman Tim Wagner said the results will then be sent back to the individuals.

You can order mercury tests for 25 dollars at:

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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