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Mercury levels in women

Vilimaina Naqelevuki
Wednesday, March 07, 2018

SUSTAINABILITY Alliance in the Cook Islands conducted a study on methyl mercury levels for women in the country.

Imogen Ingram, who is running the research on methyl mercury levels and is also part of the alliance, found expectant mothers who ate fish exposed to high levels of mercury were more likely to give birth to babies who had irreversible brain damage.

"The mother passed on the methyl mercury to the child she was carrying and that child often got serious irreversible brain damage and so I became concerned about that.

"The main reason was the exposure to eating a lot of fish, certain types of fish are predatory and since we like to eat our tuna, this had higher methyl mercury than other species."

Ms Ingram said the Minimata Convention on Methyl Mercury which was adopted by the United Nations in 2013 had no data on mercury levels for those living in the Asia-Pacific region.

The research is funded by the International Persistent Organic Pollution Elimination Network, United Nations Environment Programme and so far she has conducted tests in seven countries within the Pacific. The seven countries included Tonga, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Cook Islands.

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