Thirty academic scientists, medical doctors and consumer advocates wrote to FDA and EPA last Friday, urging them to strengthen the Federal fish consumption advisory for mercury and also to do a better job of warning consumers. “Recent research shows that both beneficial effects of fish nutrients and harm from mercury exposure occur in a baby’s developing brain when a pregnant woman eats ordinary amounts of fish,” said Edward Groth III, PhD, a Mercury Policy Project science consultant. “There is no evidence of a threshold for the harmful effects of mercury, and even the amount in a single can of tuna should probably be avoided.”
World governments today completed the first step towards a mercury treaty, issuing a meeting report and providing the basis for developing treaty text for INC2 in Japan in January 2011, according to ZMWG and press reports. NGOs lauded W.H.O. for supporting mercury reductions. “We applaud W.H.O.’s statement to stop production of skin cosmetics containing mercury, as they are an exposure risk worldwide ,” said MPP director Bender. “We welcome W.H.O’s interest in “phasing down” amalgam, which is reflective of the WHO meeting last fall, and consistent with what NGOs wrote to WHO on.” This may be of interest in the US as FDA decided yesterday to review amalgam risks.
Today, a Japanese official proposed that the treaty be signed in Minamata, as their Prime Minister proposed earlier. Takeshi Yasuma, of Citizens Against Chemicals Pollution, responded, outlining steps and then concluding that the best way to show respect for Minimata is “…by substantial actions for a strong global treaty that eliminates all human sources of mercury.”
June 9 Update- NGOs made a number of interventions, including ZMWG opening statement; ZMWG-IPEN statement on the treaty framework and waste issues (in response to a Basel Convention document); compliance; monitoring; storage; and mercury reduction in products, processes and ASGM.
June 7 Update- As negotiations start, a global NGO coalition today called on governments to curb mercury pollution worldwide. A ZMWG Exhibition provided information on mercury and our position papers.
June 6 Update- UNEP held a briefing on mercury issues and a WHO-HCWH report was presented on reducing mercury in health care. In the afternoon, the ZMWG organised an NGO training on how to use a LUMEX.
June 3 – The first Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) begins negotiating a mercury treaty next week, funded by the Nordic Council and discussed on YouTube. ZMWG prepared partial concept treaty text, a treaty framework, an ASGM thought starter, and observations on UNEP documents.