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IPEN

A Toxics-Free Future

Mining

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(Göteborg, Sweden) Mercury, a neurotoxic metal, has been found in high levels across all global regions in women of reproductive age, according to a new study conducted by IPEN (a global public health & environment network) and Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI). Women in the Pacific Islands and in communities near gold mining sites in Indonesia, Kenya, and Myanmar were found to have average mercury levels many times higher than US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) health advisory levels.

The research, Mercury in Women of Childbearing Age in 25 Countries, was undertaken to measure the prevalence of mercury body burden at levels that can cause neurological and organ damage. Mercury in a mother’s body can be transferred to her fetus during pregnancy, exposing the developing fetus to the potent neurotoxin. The study is the first of its kind to sample as many countries and regions and spotlight women of childbearing age.  

In the nearest future, we expect a major and important event for all of us - the First Conference of the Parties of the Minamata Convention on Mercury. We invested a lot of effort into the development and promotion of the Convention. We congratulate all people who facilitated the event by their work, knowledge and devotion!

The Minamata Convention on Mercury prioritises environmental considerations over interests of global businesses used to pursue their financial gains in a resource-based economy that ignores environmental effects. It is not only associated with banning primary mercury extraction from global deposits, it also deals with tightening control over different industrial operations, particularly with extraction and processing non-ferrous metals ores, that are accompanied by uncontrolled releases of many tons of mercury into the environment.

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