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WORLD'S TOP MERCURY RESEARCHERS IN HALIFAX

HALIFAX (July 25, 2011) – More than 870 mercury experts from 48 countries are in Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada discussing the latest scientific advances related to mercury in the environment. The 10th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant (ICMGP) is taking place at the World Trade and Convention Centre, July 24th – 29th.

“Environment Canada is very proud to support the 10th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant and recognizes the extraordinary accomplishments and contributions of scientists in the field of mercury research,” said the Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of the Environment. “This conference provides the opportunity for information sharing between our partners at home and abroad that will support ongoing efforts to effectively manage mercury and protect our environment and human health.”

Among the notable findings particularly relevant in Nova Scotia is the increase in fish mercury levels in Kejimkujik National Park. This region was already known as a mercury hotspot for fish and wildlife. “Unfortunately it seems that the “hotspot” is getting hotter. These fish (yellow perch) are the main food source for the common loons in the park and we are concerned about the rising mercury levels impacting the bird’s ability to reproduce.” (Karen Kidd, University of New Brunswick, Saint John).

Mercury science has been gaining international profile over the last number of years and culminated in 2009 with the unanimous agreement of governments around the world to develop a global legally binding instrument to protect human health and the environment from the harmful effects of mercury. Negotiations of the global treaty are underway and expected to be completed by 2013. This is the first time the Conference has featured a session presented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). ‘This conference has provided an excellent opportunity to promote understanding of the mercury issue and to foster actions under the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership at the mid-point of the global mercury negotiation.’ (Brenda Koekkoek, Programme Officer, UNEP)

Conference Co-chair Brian Branfireun (University of Western Ontario, London) noted, “This conference has provided an excellent forum to showcase the quality of Canadian mercury research on the international stage. We are proud that this has been such a tremendous opportunity to present Canadian and particularly Maritime entertainment, people and places to the world, as well.”

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that affects the brain, liver, kidneys and heart, and can cause a wide range of health problems in humans and wildlife. The ICMGP is the preeminent international forum for presenting scientific advances and policy initiatives concerning environmental mercury pollution.

For further details about the conference, please visit http://mercury2011.org.

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WORLD’S TOP MERCURY RESEARCHERS TO GATHER IN HALIFAX THIS MONTH

HALIFAX (July 12, 2011) – In less than two weeks, more than 800 mercury experts from 44 different countries will gather in Halifax to discuss the latest scientific advances related to mercury in the environment. The 10th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant (ICMGP) will take place at the World Trade and Convention Centre, July 24th – 29th.

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that affects the brain, liver, kidneys and heart, and can cause a wide range of health problems in humans and wildlife. The ICMGP is the preeminent international forum for presenting scientific advances and policy initiatives concerning environmental mercury pollution.

“The 10th ICMGP meeting will give delegates the opportunity to network and share perspectives relating to mercury in the environment, and also make connections with experts from across the country and around the world,” says Conference Co-chair, Dr. Michael Parsons.

Parsons adds, “Halifax is proud to host this meeting on its second occasion ever in Canada. The city has invested in a number of environmental improvement initiatives such as the Harbour Solutions Project and solid waste recycling, both of which have significantly reduced the emissions of mercury and other contaminants to the environment.”

The 10th ICMGP will draw from Nova Scotia’s maritime roots to explore how mercury transport and accumulation in the air, land and sea can translate into exposure and harmful effects on the health of humans and wildlife. Conference presentations will highlight the most current scientific understanding of mercury in the environment and will focus on how best to reduce mercury’s impact through improved public policy.

The conference begins on July 24 with a free “Mercury Open House” from noon to 4:00 pm, where local residents can learn more about the sources of mercury, its movement through the environment, and its effect on developing countries. Participants, including children, will learn how to reduce their exposure to mercury at work and at home, and will even have a chance to get their hair tested for mercury. Representatives from RONA will be on-hand with a recycling centre for compact fluorescent light bulbs to help the public keep mercury out of local landfills.

The keynote speaker at the Opening Ceremonies on July 24 is Richard Gelfond, Chief Executive Officer of IMAX Corporation. Mr. Gelfond will share his personal story of methylmercury poisoning from his perspective as a Manhattanite who was an avid fish consumer. The ICMGP will also feature five invited plenary speakers throughout the week who will address the most recent developments in the world of mercury science and policy.

For further details about the conference, please visit http://mercury2011.org.

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For interviews, or more information, contact:
Lynn Buckley, Conference Secretariat
902-422-1886
lbuckley [at] agendamanagers [dot] com