A new study, supported by the Minamata Convention’s Interim Secretariat hosted by UN Environment, reveals that women of childbearing age living in four Pacific Island countries have elevated levels of mercury in their bodies. Mercury monitoring in women of childbearing age in the Asia and the Pacific Region, jointly conducted by the interim secretariat of the Minamata Convention, Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI), and the global NGO network IPEN, examined hair samples from women aged 18 - 44 from Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, and Kiribati, and two landlocked Asian countries, Tajikistan and Nepal.
Imogen Ingram, rear, with the assistance of Women United Together Marshall Islands staff member Miram Debrum, takes a hair sample during her visit to Majuro as part of a region-wide study of mercury levels in women. (Photo: Women United Together Marshall Islands)
IPENer Ram Charitra Sah, Executive Director of the Center for Public Health and Environmental Development (CEPHED), presented a paper entitled "Bio Monitoring of Mercury Contamination in Human Body and Policy Influence in Nepal" at the First National Summit of Health and Population Scientists in Nepal, which took place in April in Kathmandu. The paper relates to CEPHED's extensive work on mercury issues, especially bio-monitoring and policy initiatives, and was chosen as "Best Paper" among the 70 scientific papers presented at the summit.