Experts recommend options for addressing adverse effects of mercury UN agency says

The UNEP Global Mercury Assessment Working Group, which wrapped up a weeklong meeting in Geneva, also recommended that governments reduce risks by cutting or eliminating the production and consumption of mercury by substituting other products and processes. States were also urged to launch talks for a legally-binding treaty, establish a non-binding global programme of action, and strengthen cooperation among countries on information-sharing, risk communication, assessment and related activities.The Working Group also recommended a number of immediate actions to enhance outreach to highly vulnerable groups, such as pregnant women, provide technical and financial support to developing countries and to countries with economies in transition, and support increased research, monitoring and data-collection on the health and environmental aspects of mercury and on environmentally friendly alternatives to the chemical.These recommendations, together with a detailed assessment report, will be forwarded to UNEP’s Governing Council, which meets next February in Nairobi. Based on the Working Group’s scientific and technical advice, the Governing Council may adopt political decisions that will set the course for global action on mercury for years to come.”These recommendations from the scientists and experts are the first essential step on the road to reducing and one day eliminating the environmental and health risks of mercury,” said UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer. “Now it is up to the politicians and policy-makers to decide just where we go from here.”

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