Minamata disease is one of the most notorious ecological catastrophes of the 20th century. Discharge of mercury-containing effluent by the 'Chisso' chemical plant to the Minamata Bay in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan, gave rise to a dangerous syndrome that seriously affects the central nervous system due to the toxicity of methylmercury, which gets into the body with contaminated food.
In our blog, it has been repeatedly written about the harmful effects of mercury and mercury compounds on the environment and humans. Active migration and bioaccumulation in food chains cause high prevalence of this metal in all elements of the biosphere and pose a real threat to mankind.
Here you can read how mercury-containing waste affected people's lives, and what measures society has taken to prevent similar situations in the future. The most appropriate response to the mercury threat is with certainty the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which aims to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions of mercury and mercury compounds. The Convention envisages a set of measures aimed in particular at excluding mercury from technological processes, switching to environmentally safe methods of storage and utilization of mercury and mercury-containing waste, as well as identifying and clearing contaminated sites. The document was signed on October 10, 2013; its ratification proceeded within four years. Now that the current number of participating countries has exceeded 50, from August 16, 2017, the Convention will become legally binding for all its parties. The list of countries can be found here.
After the ratification, the First Minamata Convention on Mercury will be held from September 24 to September 29, 2017. It will bring together participants of governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations from around the world. This event will consider and make decisions that cover technical, administrative, as well as operational and financial issues. More information about the Conference can be found here.
'Lumex Instruments' company feasibly contributes to the implementation of these initiatives. Our researchers and engineers develop methods for conducting rapid mercury analysis using a mercury analyzer of the 'RA-915M' series using GFAAS, which is part of the analytical complex and can perform fast selective measurements of mercury content in gas streams, liquid and solid samples.
In addition to the mercury analyzer 'RA-915M' with a set of specialized attachments, Lumex Instruments company produces automatic mercury monitors of the 'RA-915AM' series, which are used to monitor atmospheric mercury in Europe, China, and South America, in particular, in the framework of the GMOS (Global Mercury Observation System) project.