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This Week: Mercury
This Week
June 25, 2004

This week on NOW:

Next week, the public comment period ends on a proposal by the EPA to regulate power plant emissions of mercury, a toxin linked to neurological disorders in newborns. It's estimated that a startling 630,000 babies born in the U.S. this year could have mercury blood levels at or above the safety limit. So why are many critics including state's attorneys general, U.S. senators, and the March of Dimes calling on the EPA to withdraw the proposed rule? David Brancaccio goes inside the debate and examines how the EPA's close relationship to corporate interests may be influencing regulation.

While Iraq is moving toward sovereignty on June 30, continued killings of civilians, suicide bombings, and violence are evidence of what some are calling a "security quagmire." How could the transfer of power change the situation on the ground? David Brancaccio interviews NPR's Deborah Amos, who has been reporting from the troubled region for years, via satellite from Iraq.

With some Wall Street and other economic indicators suggesting the existence of a healthy economy, next week Alan Greenspan's Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates. What does it mean for Main Street? David Brancaccio goes in-depth with Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren, author of THE TWO-INCOME TRAP: WHY MIDDLE CLASS MOTHERS AND FATHERS ARE GOING BROKE, to shed light on what a rate hike could mean for a financially over-extended middle class America. "The American family is about to get hit with a tidal wave from the debt they've taken on," says Warren. "That tidal wave is going to drown millions of families."

In Depth

Tuna fish

The Battle Over Mercury Emissions

All About Mercury

Mercury in Fish

Environmental Resource Map

Bankruptcy Expert Elizabeth Warren

Interest Rates and Middle Class Debt

Who is the American Middle Class?

Election 2004: Income Issues

Focus on Iraq


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Read the complete transcript.

Streaming Video

[NOTE: RealPlayer is required to view NOW segments.]

Mercury Rising (19:56)

David Brancaccio talks with Deborah Amos via satellite from Iraq (11:28)

David Brancaccio talks with Economist Elizabeth Warren (14:39)


Mercury Rising
Producer: Brenda Breslauer
Correspondent: David Brancaccio
Editor: Alison Amron

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