The presence of mercury levels in human body has exceeded the internationally accepted amount, a study released on Wednesday says.
Joe DiGangi, a Senior Science and Technical Advisor of the International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) revealed that a study that was done on delegates at Minamata Mercury Convention COP1 with Highest Levels from Small Island Developing States found abnormal traces of mercury in delegates from around the world.
“The study detected mercury levels above health alert thresholds in over half of the global policy decision makers that were tested,” DiGangi, who is a lead author of the study said during a press conference in Nairobi at the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA).
Researchers from IPEN and the Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) analyzed mercury levels in hair samples from 180 delegates (104 women and 76 men), from 75 countries who participated in the conference in September this year.
The findings revealed mercury in all participants and elevated mercury levels exceeding the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) health advisory level of 1 ppm, above which brain damage, IQ loss, kidney and cardiovascular damage may occur, in over half of the study participants.
The study reveals that even global policy makers who are educated on mercury risks are not protected from mercury contamination.
Jacob Duer, UNEP Chief Chemicals and Health Branch Economy Division attributed the problems to use of mercury in small scale gold mines.
“It is high time the governments provide alternative means of mining far from relying on mercury that is a dangerous substance,” he added.
He called for awareness creation to enable people working in small scale gold mines to understand the risk they are exposed while using mercury. Enditem