The UN’s Minamata Convention entered into force in August and the first international summit on the issue was held in Geneva in September. At that meeting, delegates from around the world, including environment ministers, were tested for mercury contamination: the results were shocking.
Analysis showed that mercury levels were above the threshold considered safe by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in more than a half of the attendants who participated. Hair samples were taken from 180 officials hailing from 75 countries.
IPEN, a Swedish association that aims to establish safe chemical policies, carried out the research and discovered that mercury was found in all the delegates.
More than 50% exceeded EPA’s 1 parts per million threshold. Levels above this expose people to the threat of brain and cardiovascular damage, while the most potent harm can be done to unborn children.