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We are all at risk from poisonous mercury. It’s time to take action


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Mercury is far more pervasive than most people realize, and we have no idea how many people are at risk. It can be found in everything from mascara and dental amalgam to thermometers and skin whitening creams – and that’s before it reaches the food chain. There is no safe level of exposure, and everyone is at risk when mercury is released without safeguards. Children and newborn and unborn babies are most vulnerable, along with populations who eat contaminated fish. Studies have shown that children as far afield as Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia and Greenland all suffer cognitive impairment from eating fish containing mercury. Then there are those who use mercury at work, and people who live near a source of mercury pollution, or in colder climates where the dangerous heavy metal tends to accumulate. While we have historically been quick to use mercury, too few countries are equipped to deal with the fallout from that use. And far too few of the opportunities that could be created to bring it under control are being grasped. That’s why the first conference of the parties to the Minamata convention, taking place this week, is so important. The convention has now been ratified by 83 countries – four this week alone – and the list is growing. It matters because with every new party there is more opportunity for the convention to ensure mercury does no more harm. It is a chance for the world to work towards the safe handling, storage, treatment and disposal of mercury products and waste. It is the first major step towards ending mercury production and use in mining and industry. And it will make it easier to hold people to account when they break laws prohibiting mercury production and illegal disposal and dumping. But there is still a huge gap between the provisions of the Minamata convention and current practices. The need to scale up awareness of and action on mercury is huge. The plight of more than 14 million miners exposed to mercury through its use in small-scale gold mining in more than 70 countries should be enough to prompt us to drastically reduce its use. After all, there are a number of alternatives to using mercury today, and the list is growing.

Learn More: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/29/we-are-at-risk-poisonous-mercury-time-to-take-action

Posted by on Oct 2 2017. Filed under News at Now, No Mercury. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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