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Voodoo Science
Mercury is the subject to extensive and controversial regulation by the Federal Government, including EPA's proposed new mercury rules under the Clean Air Act. Consequently, Winston is not surprised to find the Government producing lengthy scientific reports on mercury. Winston was, however, surprised to find a 111 page "multi-agency task force" report on Voodoo and mercury.

This Voodoo Report was produced by the Government's "Task Force on Ritualistic Uses of Mercury," and took approximately four years to produce. It is part of the EPA mercury rule-making administrative record. The Voodoo Task Force was constituted "in January 1999 to recommend an appropriate course of action regarding the use of elemental mercury as part of certain spiritual practices and folk traditions." These "practices" and "folk traditions" include Voodoo, as well as "Santeria," "Palo" and "Espiritismo." The Voodoo Report explains that "[m]ercury is used to attract luck, love, or money; to protect against evil; or to speed the action of spells through a variety of recommended uses, including wearing as amulets, sprinkling on the floor or adding to a candle or oil lamp." The Report further explains that mercury is most often carried "as an amulet in a sealed pouch," but that it "is sometimes mixed with water or other liquids and used to clean the home, added to spiritual baths, or placed under the bed in a cup of water." The Voodoo Report includes four single-spaced pages of recommended future action including Government "outreach" to the Voodoo community. Recommendations like this make Winston glad he's a dog and not a goat.
  • Click here to read the Government's Voodoo Report .
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