October 26, 2005

Clean Air Around the Corner in Chicago?

Congratulations White Sox fans. Now that Chicago is shedding its backward history and is the talk of the nation, isn't it time we joined the global push for clean and safe bars and restaurants by going smoke-free?

In the next week the City Council and Mayor Daley appear to be finally ready to decide on an ordinance to ban smoking in bars, restaurants, and public indoor places throughout Chicago. Sierra Club supports the proposal, because of the health threats posed to patrons and workers in smoky places.

This isn't just about whether your hair, coat, and clothes are going to smell like an ashtray after you get home from your favorite bar or a concert. Particularly for the people who work in Chicago's bars and restaurants, it's a matter of life and death.

The folks at the American Lung Association are doing a great job fighting for all of us who live in Chicago or spend time in its bars and restaurants. Call your Alderman, call the Mayor. Ask them to deliver another big victory for Chicago. Find out more at http://www.lungchicago.org/site/epage/26728_487.htm

October 17, 2005

Daley Leads the Way To Cleaner Air

Mayor Daley and the City of Chicago have been doing great work lately speaking up for clean air at a time when Congress is voting to weaken the Clean Air Act.

Chicago has endorsed the Kyoto Protocol, calling for real action to reduce global warming pollution. See http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/chi-0510130167oct13,1,820853.story

Last week, they filed an objection to proposed new coal-fired power plant south of Joliet that would be the biggest new source of air pollution in the Chicago area in a long time. See http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-0510130184oct13,1,2838465.story

Thanks from the bottoms of our lungs to Mayor Daley, Environment Commissioner Sadhu Johnston, and everyone else from the City who is working to make Chicago the greenest city in America. There are still issues (the lame blue bag system, the dirty coal plants on the southwest side, a Chicago River that needs disinfecting), but the commitment to make progress is real and is making Chicago a better place to live and do business.

And go White Sox!

October 10, 2005

Mercury Pollution - Cut It Out!

Tonight we finished a statewide series of free hair testings for mercury contamination. At 11 locations around the state, we met hundreds of moms, dads, kids, young adults, and seniors who are concerned that pollution from coal power plants is ending up on their plate and in their bodies.

From Peoria to Pilsen, Carbondale to Highland Park, Illinoisans lined up to have a lock of their hair taken as part of a national analysis being done by the Environmental Quality Institue at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Each will get confidential results of their own mercury test, which will be part of a national study to be released in November.

Thanks to everyone who took part, and especially the salons and barbershops who hosted these community events and collected the samples. Until we require pollution controls on mercury from power plants, educating the public about how they can limit their own exposure through their diet is the best way to prevent children from suffering from mercury poisoning.