Club 'Salon' Tests Tresses at Kentucky Fair
"The Sierra Club wants a hank of your hair. Especially if you are a woman of child-bearing age. And eat a lot of fish."
So read the lead paragraph in an August 13 article in the Lexington Herald-Leader, promoting the local Sierra Club's mercury-testing event at the Woodland Art Fair the following weekend. The two-day festival is one of the highlights of the summer in Lexington, Kentucky, drawing thousands of attendees, and every year the Bluegrass Group of the Sierra Club mans a booth there, with items such as apparel recycled into tote bags and hand-made recycled greeting cards, created and donated by Bluegrass Group members.
This year the Group set two hours aside for a mercury hair-testing event, with test kits provided by the Club's National Coal Campaign. "The advance story in the Herald-Leader created a surge of interest and people were lined up well before the 'hair salon' was open for business," says Bluegrass Group volunteer Lane Boldman. "The fact that the event was a bit out of the norm, nestled among craft booths and ice cream stands, made it stand out and got the curiosity of the crowd." Bluegrass member and hair stylist Frankie Barker (above and in top photo) and a team of five support volunteers whipped through 30 haircuts in just two hours.
Boldman says most people were familiar with the dangers of mercury accumulation, but few were aware that more than 95 percent of Kentucky's power comes from coal-fired power plants and that every stream in the state carries a fish advisory for mercury. "This event gave the Group a great opportunity to showcase the work we're doing to clean up these dirty coal plants. And Club volunteers received a lot of appreciation from attendees for providing the testing service."