More than 140 countries agreed on February 20 to work toward establishing a treaty to curb mercury pollutants that affect millions of people across the globe.
The ministers also agreed on an interim plan to reduce pollution containing the neurotoxic chemical while awaiting the treaty because “the risk to human health was so significant that accelerated action . . . is needed whilst the treaty is being finalized,” the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) said in a statement (http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=562&ArticleID=6090&l=en&t=long). The interim plan includes increasing efforts to safely stockpile mercury, reducing supply and use among small-scale miners, and reducing mercury in some products, such as thermometers.
Stephenson J. Tackling Mercury Pollution. JAMA. 2009;301(11):1118. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.355