Geneva Switzerland : IPEN, a global network of health and environmental NGOs, have brought together a mercury poisoning survivor from Minamata, Japan with researchers who have just exposed alarming levels of mercury in women of child-bearing age across the globe. Testimony was heard from Ms. Shinobu Sakamoto, who sustained significant neurological damage from in-utero mercury poisoning when her mother, like thousands harmed or killed by industrial mercury in Minamata Bay, consumed mercury-contaminated fish. Ms. Sakamoto called on government delegates to the Minamata Convention to take strong action to bring an end to global mercury poisoning and ensure there are no more Minamatas. Specifically, Convention delegates must end the global trade in mercury that is feeding small scale gold mining, drive down coal-fired power emissions and clean up contaminated sites.
Two IPEN Participating Organizations - Arnika (Czech Republic) and EcoMuseum (Kazakhstan), together with local NGO Eco Mangystau - released a new report about POPs and heavy metals in camel milk samples from the Mangystau Region, which is found by the Caspian Sea in Kazakhstan. High levels of PCBs and zinc, and relatively increased levels of PAU, were found by analyses done in Czech laboratories.