New mercury treaty exposes health risks
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More than a decade in the making, a new, legally binding treaty on mercury will be adopted by governments in the fall of 2013. The treaty’s objective is to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic mercury emissions through a range of provisions – including an article devoted to reducing exposure to mercury. Global emissions have increased since 2005, with the environmental health burden increasingly shifting to developing countries. Time is of the essence to reduce pollution because (i) exposure risk to mercury is much greater than previously thought and (ii) mercury already in the environment can be re-emitted via processes in the natural cycle, resulting in a longer lag time before pollution reduction can have a demonstrable effect on the food chain. Health professionals can assist in reducing exposure, choosing mercury-free products and urging governments to ratify the treaty as quickly as possible so that it can take effect.
Keywordsmercury treaty convention health exposure emissions
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