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A Toxics-Free Future

Mercury Pollution, A Threat to All: New Report & Press Conference


New Study Reveals Dangerous Mercury Levels among Delegates at Minamata Mercury Convention COP1, with the Highest Levels in Delegates from Small Island Developing States.

Read the Press Release here 

Evidence that the neurotoxic metal mercury poses a global health threat to all was underscored today in a new study analyzing the mercury body burdens among delegates of a global conference of the world’s first mercury treaty. The study detected mercury levels above health alert thresholds in over half of the global policy decision-makers tested at the first Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention.

Researchers concluded that even global policy-makers who are educated about mercury risks are not protected from mercury contamination. The findings revealed mercury in all participants and elevated mercury levels exceeding the US EPA health advisory level of 1 ppm. Levels many times higher were identified in delegates from a number of regions. Mercury, while harmful to adults, causes the greatest damage to the developing nervous systems of fetuses in utero.

Assessed by UN region of origin, the mean mercury concentration levels of delegates exceeded the US EPA health advisory level of 1ppm in:

  • Africa, Asia Pacific, GRULAC (Latin American and Caribbean Countries), JUSCANZ (Japan, United States, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Norway, and New Zealand), Small Island Development States (SIDS) and Western Europe.
  • The mean level of mercury in hair of delegates from the Asia Pacific region exceeded 2 ppm overall.
  • When researchers isolated the results from Small Island Developing States, the average mercury levels increased to above 3 ppm.

Press Conference December 6th, 11:00 am, UNEA3, Nairobi (Press Conference Room):

IPEN and BRI analyzed mercury levels in hair samples from 180 delegates (104 women and 76 men) from 75 countries who participated at the COP1 to the Minamata Convention in Geneva from September 24-29th, 2017. At this press conference, IPEN will present study findings and summary findings.


Dr. Joe DiGangi, IPEN Sr. Science & Technical Advisor

Dr. DiGangi will provide a brief presentation about the report and the results.

H.E. Minister Mr. Alexander Teabo, Kiribati Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development

Minister Teabo will share information about the impacts of global pollution and the specific impact in Kiribati and Small Island Developing States.

Deputy Minister Ado Lohmus, Estonia Ministry of Environment 

Deputy Minister Lohmus will share information about the commitment by Estonia and EU Member States to the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

Dr. Maria Neira, World Health Organization (WHO) Director, Public Health and the Environment

Dr. Neira will share WHO’s perspective on mercury pollution.

Jacob Duer, Principal Coordinator of the Interim Secretariat of the Minamata Convention on Mercury

Mr. Duer will share the importance of the Minamata Convention & actions by UN Environment to reduce mercury pollution.

Facilitator:  Björn Beeler, IPEN International Coordinator & General Manager