Scientists unite to highlight mercury threat
The world's leading mercury specialists have published their collected findings on the toxic metal, claiming it poses a serious global pollution threat.
But the Madison Declaration on Nuclear Pollution, essentially a collection of five academic papers with a warning attached, suggests the problem is an order of magnitude higher than was previously suspected.
The declaration is a summary of the findings of those working in the field since last summer's international conference on mercury as a global pollutant held in Madison, Wisconsin.
The papers summarize what is presently known about the sources and movement of mercury in the atmosphere, the socio-economic and health effects of mercury pollution on human populations, and its effects on the world's fisheries and wildlife.
The key findings of the papers were:
"The policy implications of these findings are clear," said Dr James Wiener, the Wisconsin professor who chaired last August's conference.
"The declaration and the detailed analyses of the five supporting papers clearly demonstrate the need for effective national and international policies to combat the environmental mercury problem."
Wiener said the Madison Declaration summarizes a year-long effort by many of the world's leading mercury scientists, assembled into four conference panels, to review and synthesize mercury science findings. All members of the scientific panels endorsed the declaration, he said.
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