|Evidence shows mercury threat underestimated ahead of UN treaty talks|
|Tuesday, 04 December 2012 11:11|
Evidence shows mercury threat underestimated ahead of UN treaty talks
[4 December 2012, Brussels]--New reports released today show widespread global mercury contamination of seafood and health effects from methylmercury in seafood occurring below the level that was considered “safe” just a few years ago. The Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) , in cooperation with the Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) , is facilitating the release of the three reports.
“The level of mercury in the Pacific Ocean is projected to increase by 50% by 2050 if current pollution trends continue unabated,” said Richard Gutierrez, executive director of Ban Toxics!, located in Quezon City, Philippines. “This is a wake-up call for all governments to stem the rising tide of mercury pollution and finalize a strong treaty.”
The new scientific findings are to be presented at the start of the fifth and final round of United Nations negotiations to put in place a legally binding global treaty to reduce mercury use and pollution . The legal text negotiated by the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee is expected to be completed on 18 January 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland.
“The latest science points to the need for strict reduction measures to address the global mercury crisis,” said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, co-coordinator of ZMWG at the European Environment Bureau in Brussels, Belgium.
Other key science findings include the following:
“We believe it is crucial to understand global baseline mercury
 Zero Mercury Working Group is a coalition of more than 95 NGOs around the world working towards zero supply, demand, and emissions of mercury from all anthropogenic sources, with the goal of reducing mercury in the global environment to a minimum. www.zeromercury.org
 Biodiversity Research Institute’s mission is to assess emerging threats to wildlife and ecosystems through collaborative research, and use scientific findings to advance environmental awareness and inform decision makers.
 The report from BRI reveals patterns of global seafood mercury concentrations. A companion report written by Dr. Edward Groth III for the ZMWG provides an overview of epidemiological evidence for mercury effects on human health and a rationale for lower tolerance levels. Finally, ZMWG presents a short summary of the report findings, and provides recommendations. Links to all the reports are available at: www.zeromercury.org.
 The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s health-based reference dose for methylmercury is 1x10-4 milligrams/kilogram-day, a body weight of 132 pounds or 60 kilograms and a fish meal size of 6 ounces or 170 grams.
Mercury Contamination, Exposures and Risk: Summary and Recommendations (Zero Mercury Summary and Recommendations)