RECETOX at Mercury Week in Geneva

In parallel to the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury, a series of activities – Mercury Week – is organized from 22 to 29 September 2017 in different places of the city of Geneva to raise the awareness of the public about mercury, its uses, its effects, and how the Minamata Convention contributes to the global solution.

The Mercury Week opened by one-day event hosted by and organized at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva entitled “For Health Make Mercury History” on 22 September 2017 from 11 am to 4 pm on key actions for the health sector. The meeting was composed of the High Level Segment, Demonstration Event on mercury human biomonitoring using human scalp hair, and of a Technical Session (see program attached).

RECETOX strongly supported the event. Kateřina Šebková, Director of the National and Stockholm Convention Regional Centre at RECETOX, participated at the High-level Segment as one of the panel speakers. She shared with more than 60 participants, Ministers, Ambassadors and health attachés of WHO member countries, the outcomes of the Central and Eastern European workshop on the health sector involvement and priorities for implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

The European region priorities that can be implemented nationally by and in the health sector:

  • Collection and wide sharing of knowledge about the toxic effects of mercury, especially at early developmental stages;
  • Mobilizations of general practitioners, other health care and public health specialists in advocating for prevention of exposure to mercury and other hazardous chemicals;
  • Elimination of mercury and products containing mercury from the health sector facilities;
  • Development of education programs, diagnosis and treatments protocols, proper communication of mercury and its compounds risks.

The second significant involvement was the demonstration event of human hair sampling for the mercury content supported by the RECETOX Research Infrastructure staff. RECETOX RI has been cooperating with the World Health Organization on mercury since 2015. In addition to the Geneva event, which the RECETOX RI supported by collecting and analyzing more than 100 samples of human hair, the RECETOX is assisting the WHO in the implementation of the WHO/UN Environment GEF project "Development of a Plan for Global Monitoring of Human Exposure to and Environmental Concentrations of Mercury”. There in RECETOX developed training materials, lectured, provided mercury analyzes for samples collected in two project countries (Kyrgyzstan and Ghana) and works as a reference laboratory.

Finally, we would like to acknowledge the support of the RECETOX research infrastructure in analyses of the human hair samples that is supported from the project LM2015051 of the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.