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Mercury’s Health Effects

To the Editor:

Thanks Heaven for Arnold P. Wendroff, a research associate with the department of geology at Brooklyn College, for calling attention to the potentially grave health consequences of ritual mercury use (news article, Dec. 14). Let us hope that the resulting inquiry determines those consequences to be minimal.

Your article reports that some health officials might fear treading on cultural sensitivities. I suspect that the absence of a convenient institutional villain poses a further constraint. Were a corporation believed responsible for mercury exposure, the public outrage would be deafening. This episode reminds us once again that public health begins at home.

Christopher H. Foreman, Jr., Takoma Park, Md.
Dec. 19, 1997

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