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Letters address 'conflict minerals' and aid for binge drinkers

Monday, December 20, 2010; 7:01 PM

Supporting U.S. law's aims

In "Minerals that fuel digital items also finance war" [Dec. 14], remarks attributed to me - that an April 2011 deadline to end purchases of non-certified minerals is "rash, too strict and completely impossible" - do not represent my view. ITRI agrees with the aims of recent U.S. legislation, which does not set deadlines, only asks for disclosure, and is pleased that the U.S. government is encouraging companies to contribute to solving the complex problem of tracking conflict minerals.

ITRI, as the international association for tin producers, has been addressing this issue since 2008 and has begun to implement the "bag and tag" scheme mentioned in the article, which has the backing of local industry and the 11 governments of the region and is designed to satisfy international demands.

ITRI does not consider the legislation too strict, but without U.S. government support, the African mining sector will be unable to achieve traceability of minerals by April 2011 as U.S. markets require. This de facto embargo would be catastrophic to tens of thousands of miners who depend on the business as their livelihood.

Kay Nimmo

ITRI manager of sustainability and regulatory affairs

London

Don't abandon a friend

I hope teenagers and adults read "Bingeing takes toll on teen brains" [Dec. 7]. There is no profile for the underage drinker. She can be a star athlete or a rebellious teen. He can be a National Merit Scholar or a computer-game wiz.

A recent symposium dealt with two trends. One is attention drinking, when the teen's goal is to consume enough alcohol that he/she loses consciousness and has to be taken by ambulance to the emergency room, for the sake of drama and attention alone, without considering the risks involved. The other trend is finding a teen unconscious or worse: shoved behind a bed, in a closet or somewhere where they will be "out of the way" because his/her "friends" would not call for help.

Teens are often worried they will get in trouble if they call 911 to save a friend. We would serve our teens and community well to talk to our sons, daughters, grandchildren, students about getting help if a peer has lost consciousness or is otherwise headed for injury, abuse or worse. We can help them develop refusal skills and give them a no-questions-asked-until-we-are-both-calm guarantee if they need to be picked up, anytime, anywhere.

Patty Winters

Straight Talk Symposium Coordinator, Magruder High School PTSA, Germantown

Note

A Dec. 14 letter identified Lewis Gollub as a professor of psychology at the University of Maryland. He is an emeritus professor.

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