The Eighth International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant will be held Sunday-Friday, Aug. 6-11, at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison.
The conference is expected to draw more than 1,000 scientists, academics and policy-makers from more than 44 countries, as well as representatives of industries and nongovernmental organizations involved in mercury issues.
A primary goal of the gathering is to distill current scientific knowledge about mercury in the environment into succinct, straightforward statements that will be directly relevant to government policy-makers, resource managers and others concerned about the sources and consequences of mercury pollution. Conference hosts include the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
A press conference will be held on Friday, Aug. 11, when a declaration will be released on the present scientific understanding of global mercury pollution. Throughout the week, each registered conferee will be allowed to vote to approve or reject individual statements regarding different aspects of mercury pollution. The resulting final declaration, a concise statement of scientific consensus, is expected to figure prominently in future discussions and debates around the world as governments, industries and citizens address the widespread problem of mercury in the environment.
The declaration, like the conference itself, will focus on four critical issues: health risks and toxicological effects of methylmercury; recovery of mercury-contaminated fisheries; societal consequences of mercury pollution; and source attribution of atmospheric mercury deposition.
Leading up to the release of the declaration will be more than 240 presentations and 800 poster sessions.
Reporters should visit http://www.mercury2006.org for information about media registration (click the “media” tab in the left column). All registered reporters will receive advance information several weeks before the conference, including abstracts and a complete program. E-mail email@example.com for help arranging interviews ahead of time or during the conference. Please note that specific content related to the abstracts and presentations at the Eighth International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant will remain strictly embargoed until the day of the scientific session.
The conference schedule includes:
– Monday, Aug. 7: Morning plenary: Source attribution of atmospheric mercury deposition. Key question: For any given location, can we ascertain with confidence the relative contributions of local, regional and global sources, and of natural versus anthropogenic emissions to mercury deposition?
Afternoon sessions of special interest: risks and benefits of eating seafood: mercury and omega-3 fatty acid status in geographically diverse populations; methylmercury exposure on reproduction and development: past, present and future; global mercury trade; role of mercury-containing products in reducing mercury in the environment; and successes and challenges in managing mercury within the Great Lakes region.
– Tuesday, Aug. 8: Plenary: Health risks and toxicological effects of methylmercury.
Key question: What is the evidence that humans, fish, wildlife, and other biota are being adversely affected by exposure to methylmercury?
Afternoon sessions of special interest: mercury in dental amalgam: health, environmental and management aspects; mercury contamination and native peoples: cultural, social, ecological and human health; and modeling mercury methylation and mercury cycling in the environment.
– Wednesday, Aug. 9: Plenary: Recovery of mercury-contaminated fisheries. Key question: How would methylmercury levels in fish respond to reduced anthropogenic emissions of mercury? Conference participants will attend field trips in the afternoon.
– Thursday, Aug. 10: Plenary: Societal consequences of mercury pollution. Key question: What are the socioeconomic and cultural costs of mercury pollution?
Afternoon sessions of special interest: mercury in artisanal (i.e., small-scale) gold mining: environment, health, policy and solutions; bioaccumulation and trophic transfer; and global-scale transport and deposition patterns of atmospheric mercury.
– Friday, Aug. 11: Press conference at 10 a.m. An advance copy of the declaration will be available for reporters early Friday morning.
Sessions of special interest: understanding and controlling mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants; Impacts of mining; response of fish mercury concentrations to point-source mercury loads; mercury methylation and cycling in estuarine and coastal waters.