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APHA supports mercury, reproductive rights cases.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must overturn its rules governing mercury pollution standards, which are currently too weak to protect the public's health, according to a court brief APHA filed in January.

The Association is a plaintiff along with the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Nurses Association and Physicians for Social Responsibility in challenging EPA's power plant mercury rules. According to the brief, EPA's final mercury rule delays mercury reductions for up to 15 years longer than the federal Clean Air Act requires and its method of allowing industry to meet federal mercury standards--a method called "cap and trade"--is inappropriate when dealing with a toxin such as mercury. Currently, methyl mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants make up 40 percent of all such emissions in the United States and is the largest uncontrolled source of mercury pollution in the nation. The case, State of New Jersey, et al v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, is scheduled to go before the D.C. Circuit Court sometime in the summer or fall.

APHA also weighed in on a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, Sharon Price and Michael Fruth v. Philip Morris Inc. The case concerns a Supreme Court of Illinois decision in 2005 that overturned a lower court's decision that Philip Morris defrauded consumers by claiming light and low-tar cigarettes are less harmful to health. The friend-of-the-court brief called the Illinois Supreme Court's decision "deeply disturbing" and contends that the "light cigarette fraud perpetuated on the American public was one of the most heinous health frauds carried out in this nation's history."

Reproductive health is also being supported by APHA, which signed onto another friend-of-the-court brief in the case of Jane Roe v. Larry Crawford. The case, which is before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, challenges a Missouri law prohibiting pregnant inmates from choosing abortion by refusing to transport female inmates to proper medical facilities. According to the brief, the law violates the Constitution and is "in essence, a policy of forced childbirth."
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Title Annotation:APHA ADVOCATES: Recent actions on public health by APHA; American Public Health Association
Publication:The Nation's Health
Article Type:Drug overview
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2007
Previous Article:APHA: FDA should regulate tobacco.
Next Article:APHA needs you to get involved in leadership, Affiliate roles.

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