Researchers meet to fight mercury pollution
FILE - This is a Feb. 2, 2003 file photo of Inuit hunters skin a polar bear on the ice during the traditional hunt on Frobisher Bay near Tonglait, Nunavut. Global mercury emissions could grow by 25 percent by 2020, if no action is taken to control them, posing a threat to polar bears, whales and seals and the Arctic communities who hunt them for food, an authoritative international study says.
The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, July 24, 2011 11:09AM EDT
HALIFAX - More than 800 researchers from 48 countries have gathered in Halifax for a week long conference to examine the latest scientific advances relating to mercury in the environment.
Sandy Steffen, an atmospheric chemist with Environment Canada, and one of the conference co-chairs, says their goal is to provide policy-makers with good scientific information on which to base decisions.
As a pollutant, airborne mercury knows no borders and prolonged exposure can pose serious health concerns for humans and wildlife as it accumulates in the food chain.
The cost of minimizing the problem has become a major issue since coal-burning power plants are a major contributor to the mercury pollution problem.
Last year the government of Nova Scotia amended its air-quality regulations to extend the deadline for capping emissions in order to keep power rates down.
Part of the conference will involve a public workshop where people can learn more about sources of mercury and how to reduce exposure at home and at work through recycling.