United States Joins Minamata Convention on Mercury
On behalf of the United States, Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones, Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, signed on November 6 the Minamata Convention on Mercury and deposited the U.S. Instrument of Acceptance to enable the United States to become a party to the Convention. Assistant Secretary Jones was scheduled to sign the Minamata Convention on October 10 at the Conference of Plenipotentiaries in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan, but U.S. participation in that meeting, which took place during the partial government shutdown, was cancelled.
The Minamata Convention represents a global step forward to reduce exposure to mercury, a toxic chemical with significant health effects on the brain and nervous system. The United States has already taken significant steps to reduce the amount of mercury we generate and release to the environment, and can implement Convention obligations under existing legislative and regulatory authority. The Minamata Convention complements domestic measures by addressing the transnational nature of the problem.