Mercury science and management are the focus of attention world-wide. The Minamata Convention, a global treaty on mercury, is now being ratified and requires that countries around the world control both new and existing sources and monitor the effectiveness of those controls. In the US, the Mercury and Air Toxics Rule is being implemented which will limit primary anthropogenic emissions. In many countries, the use of mercury in artisanal gold mining is under investigation as the magnitude of associated mercury releases and effects may have been underestimated. At the same time, uncertainty remains in the levels of exposure linked to a range of effects of mercury on wildlife and human health. Globally, many local efforts are in progress to remediate mercury contaminated sites. While these initiatives are important steps to mitigate mercury contamination, the extent and rate of potential recovery is unclear because of uncertainties in our understanding of mercury transport, cycling and trophic transfer.
“A technical program that reflects the latest advances, highlights critical understanding and promotes active discussion.”
Mercury is a complex, multifaceted contaminant. Methylmercury, the more toxic form, biomagnifies and drives most human health advisories and concerns for wildlife impacts. Moreover, mercury transport, transformations, bioaccumulation and exposure are affected by numerous interacting processes and phenomena (e.g., climate change, nutrient loading, land use/cover, food web dynamics, human behavior and decisions).
The 13th ICMGP will foster wide ranging discussion among participants across issues spanning environmental media, biogeochemical processes, disciplines, types of mercury contamination and remediation, exposure and effects on wildlife and human health, temporal and spatial scales, societal issues and outreach activities. The conference will be a broadly based program that includes plenary, invited and contributed oral presentations; poster presentations; small group meetings; workshops; opportunities for student mentoring; demonstrations by instrument vendors, industry and research groups; and networking. A synthesis effort is underway which will be the focus of plenary sessions and will result in four published papers on mercury processes and management at the global scale; mercury process and management at the local scale; mercury exposure to humans and wildlife and mercury management through the Minamata Convention. There will be 410 oral presentations organized in nine sessions, and 502 poster presentations in four poster sessions, with participation from 57 countries. Our technical program reflects the latest advances, highlights critical understanding and will promotes active discussion of the science of mercury and innovative strategies for its management. A highlight of the conference will be the keynote address Wednesday evening (July 19th) to be given by Ms Gina McCarthy, former U.S. EPA administrator.
Prior to the opening ceremony of the conference (July 16th) there will be opportunities for the local community to learn about mercury contamination, remediation and recycling. Activities will include stakeholder engagement session with the synthesis leaders, and community outreach which will include mercury testing of hair samples and “storytellers” of the Minamata poisoning in Japan.