As part of our mission, BRI is dedicated to advancing environmental awareness and informing decision makers about the research that we conduct. To that end, we publish science communications pieces that highlight our research in ways that are accessible to the general reader.
These publications reach across all our programs and are made available online as well as in print. The mercury booklets we have developed are listed below. For more information or for high quality images of our research graphs, charts, and maps, please contact us.
Find more scientific literature produced by BRI researchers in our Multimedia Library.
In 2011, BRI created the Center for Mercury Studies to consolidate science and policy-related projects led and conducted by BRI scientists around the world. This new publication covers the Center's projects and initiatives, ranging from global-scale monitoring of mercury in aquatic ecosystems to detailed monitoring of mercury exposure in single species and at-risk populations. It also outlines BRI's work related to the Minamata Convention on Mercury and with the United Nations Environment Programme. Download the full booklet here.
New Local, Regional, and Global Biomonitoring: Understanding Mercury Exposure through Monitoring At-risk Species. Fish and wildlife provide important information on the environmental impacts of mercury pollution and potential risks related to human health. Biomonitoring is the process of assessing the health of organisms and ecosystems and tracking changes in mercury risk and exposure over time. This publication describes the who, what, how, why, and where of biomonitoring efforts as outlined in Article 19 of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which lists those organisms that should be monitored including fish, sea turtles, birds, and marine mammals. 2017
New Phasing Out/Phasing Down Mercury-added Products: What to Know about Consumer and Commercial Products Outlined in the Minamata Convention. The Minamata Convention aims to reduce mercury use in products through a combination of measures. This booklet focuses on mercury-added products, as outlined in Article 4, which prohibits the manufacture, import, or export of specific mercury-added products by 2020. The Convention also requires a phase down of the use of mercury in dental amalgam. In addition, we discuss Article 11, which addresses mercury wastes. 2017
This report, Mercury in the Global Environment: Understanding Patterns for Biomonitoring Needs of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, presents data on mercury concentrations in marine and freshwater biota (fish, sea turtles, birds, and marine mammals) extracted from the GBMS database. Mercury concentrations from various taxa are presented and compared geographically. This report also presents mercury data relative to global fisheries capture data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Case studies take a closer look at taxon-specific patterns of mercury in biota.
Together, these data can help raise awareness of potential risks and benefits of seafood consumption, and can help inform resource managers and decision makers about the species in which and the locations where mercury represents a potential risk to human health and the environment, aiding parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury during their ratification and implementation process. 2017
From the Antarctic to the Arctic, marine mammals move across large expanses of water, foraging on the smallest of animals (krill) or preying on the largest; all depend on healthy and uncontaminated food sources. However, over the past century, mercury released through industrial processes such as coal-fired power generation, has been entering and accumulating in the world’s oceans.
To help illustrate the impacts of methylmercury biomagnification (increasing toxicity as it moves up the foodweb) and bioaccumulation on marine mammals, we have identified five groups that are particularly affected. The five marine mammal groups we feature in this publication include: toothed whales; baleen whales; pinnipeds (seals and walruses); people (in particular, aboriginal subsistence commmunities); and the polar bear. For each group, we include a chart and discussion detailing mercury body burdens. 2017
IPEN and BRI have collaborated to conduct a global mercury study in response to strong public and governmental interest in the negotiation and signing of a mercury treaty—the first global treaty on the environment in well over a decade by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The IPEN-BRI collaboration provides a rare opportunity to compile new and standardized mercury concentrations on a global basis. The Global Fish and Community Mercury Monitoring Project is the first of its kind to identify, in one collaborative effort, global biological mercury hotspots. These hotspots are of particular concern to human populations and the ecosystems on which they depend. Results are presented in the report Global Mercury Hotspots: New Evidence Reveals Mercury Contamination Regularly Exceeds Health Advisory Levels in Humans and Fish Worldwide. 2014
The Great Lakes are a unique and extraordinary natural resource providing drinking water, food, recreation, employment, and transportation to more than 35 million people. As the largest freshwater system in the world, the impact of pollution in the Great Lakes region has significant consequences for recreational anglers, commercial fishermen, and subsistence fishers, as well as for the economic status of the region’s valuable fisheries and tourism and the health of wildlife that depend on this ecosystem.
Great Lakes Mercury Connections, a collaboration between BRI and the Great Lakes Commission, distills key results from 35 peer-reviewed papers and represents the work of more than 170 scientists, researchers, and resource managers who used more than 300,000 mercury measurements to document the impact and trends of mercury pollution on the Great Lakes region. 2011
In this landmark mercury research, carried out over a four-year period (from 2001-2005), BRI and Environment Canada led a comprehensive effort to compile mercury data from across the northeastern United States and eastern Canada. As a result of that effort, 21 scientific papers were published in a special issue of Ecotoxicology and summarized in BRI’s report, Mercury Connections: The Extent and Effects of Mercury Pollution in Northeastern North America. 2011
Mercury accumulation, previously considered a risk for aquatic ecosystems, is also found in many wildlife species living on the land. This scientific data is presented in a report published by BRI in partnership with The Nature Conservancy.
Hidden Risk: Mercury in Terrestrial Systems of the Northeast highlights BRI’s scientific findings on high levels of mercury contamination in songbirds and bats throughout 11 northeastern states. 2012
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