Mercury Poisoning? Tell Us Your Story!
Mercury contamination of seafood can have damaging consequences. People who consume high levels of mercury can experience a variety of toxic effects, mostly related to the nervous system and the brain, which control sensory and motor activities. Behavior, memory, and learning processes are affected by mercury contamination. Also, new studies show that the cardiovascular and reproductive systems can be damaged as well.
As part of our new campaign, we will feature stories of people that have suffered from mercury poisoning on our Web site and other outreach materials. These can be kept anonymous if necessary.
Oceana is collecting your stories. If you or someone you know has been affected by mercury poisoning, please let us know. Fill out the form below and click send! And your story will be sent to Dawn Winalski at Oceana. Please include contact information (including email address and phone number) in case we have additional questions for you.
U.S. Stance Dilutes Mercury Agreement
March 8, 2005
Reporting by Roddy Scheer
U.S. delegates to the mercury pollution summit meeting in Nairobi, Kenya last week reported that their vision for a non-binding agreement based on voluntary cutbacks by industry prevailed over the position taken by the European Union and others calling for mandatory restrictions.
Mercury, shown here in elemental form, continues to reside at the center of international debate over toxic pollution."We were able to convince the EU, Norway and Switzerland that we need immediate action," said Claudia McMurray, leader of the U.S. delegation. "We can get started on this quickly, whereas agreeing a treaty could take years; but we do have other language saying we will look at this again after a period of time."
Not surprisingly, European delegates accuse the U.S. of railroading the proceedings, which were organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to hammer out a binding international agreement, and diluting the outcome accordingly.
One European delegate who spoke under the condition of anonymity told reporters that the U.S. "does not like binding treaties. It generally hates bureaucracy [and] it fears that such a move would weaken its industries."
While mercury is a naturally occurring element in the environment, industrial activities—especially coal-fired power generation—can cause build-ups of the toxic pollutant to unsafe levels. The effects of mercury contamination can cause serious health problems for pregnant women and children, not to mention wildlife.