Newly Adopted International Treaty: The 'Minamata Convention”

According to a news source, more than 140 nations adopted a legally binding international treaty limiting harmful emissions of mercury “from mining, utility plants and a host of products and industrial processes.”

What is Mercury?

  • Mercury is a chemical element with an atomic number of 80
  • Mercury is known to be a poisonous natural element
  • It is released into the air, water and land
  • It is used in electrical switches and thermostats

Problems Associated with Mercury:

  • Mercury may cause nerve damage in pregnant women, women of child-bearing age and young children.
  • According to the World Health Organization, “there are no safe limits for the consumption of mercury and its compounds.”
  • Brain damage, kidney damage, memory loss and language impairment
  • Mercury poisoning may result from eating seafood contaminated with mercury.
  •  Mercury poisoning can lead to Minimata disease, a severe neurological disorder.  According to an article, the disease killed hundreds of people who ate fish contaminated by mercury in Japan.  Close to 12,000 people demanded compensation for the disease from Japan's government.

The Treaty will be signed in Minamata Japan later this year.