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.
Amongst other activities, IPEN will conduct hair testing for mercury content at the COP1. All delegates are invited to come by the IPEN booth in Geneva to get their hair tested for mercury. Hair samples will be sent to Biodiversity Research Institute's laboratories for mercury analysis. Results will be complied and reported on at UNEA3.
EcoWaste Coalition and Laban Konsyumer, Inc. Joint Press Release
Government Urged to Go After Importers, Distributors and Retailers of Toxic Cosmetics
Quezon City: Chemical safety and consumer protection groups today revealed the unabashed trade of mercury-containing skin whitening products despite being illegal to import, distribute and sell.
The EcoWaste Coalition and Laban Konsyumer, Inc. made the exposé ahead of the first Conference of Parties (COP1) to the Minamata Convention on Mercury on September 24 to 29 in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Minamata Convention, an international treaty, aims “to protect the human health and the environment from anthropogenic releases of mercury and mercury compounds.” Among other things, it targets the phase-out of skin lightening products with mercury above one part per million (ppm).