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Clean Air Ambassador: Bettie Kettell

Mercury from the exhaust from the coal-fired power plants has contaminated our lakes and streams and caused the need for fish advisories throughout the entire state.

Both indoor and outdoor air pollution have affected my life. Androscoggin County has several industries, with the greatest polluter between 10 and 12 miles from my home. The list of pollutants includes formaldehyde, methanol and many others. Much of the air pollution in Maine comes from out-of-state coal-fired power plants and other mid-western industry. We are in the path of prevailing winds that bring us many pollutants. Mercury from the exhaust from the coal-fired power plants has contaminated our lakes and streams and caused the need for fish advisories throughout the entire state.

Though Maine is a relatively clean air state in comparison to others, the cold drives us indoors where we are exposed to significant pollution from the many chemicals in our lives. I developed asthma at age 50 from exposure to latex gloves and the powder they contain. I require daily prescriptions and am prone to serious bronchitis when I get a cold. I am very aware of airborne pollutants that can cause me to have breathing problems. I often have trouble singing in my church choir.

I was a participant in the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine's biomonitoring study in 2006 (www.cleanandhealthyme.org). The 13 subjects were tested for 72 chemicals. I tied for first place with another subject for the most in me. We each had 43! Mine included all of the brominated flame retardants, in high levels. These substances off-gas from the products they are in and are then in the dust and air that we breathe.

I want members of Congress to continue to support the efforts of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This organization needs to be strengthened, not eliminated.
 

Ambassador Group Affiliation: 
American Nurses Association
Ambassador Profession: 
Registered Nurse