Mercury Poisoning: The Story of Minamata


Image via Japan Travel

THE STORY OF MINAMATA, JAPAN 

1956 Minamata, Japan: A small group of local fishermen were admitted to the hospital after suffering symptoms of high fever, convulsions, psychosis, and loss of consciousness. Unfortunately, this strange and severe onset of symptoms ultimately resulted in their death. Soon after, other fishermen and people from nearby villages began to suffer the same symptoms. As time went on, more and more people within the region became fatally sick.

It was soon discovered that mercury poisoning was the cause of death of over 900 people from the villages of Minamata and had infected 2,265 others. Local fish and wildlife had also perished as a result of mercury poisoning within the local bays and waterways.

Minamata was devastated. Reeling from loss and no answers, in 1959, a protest by local fishermen pressured the government to investigate the cause of illness and death to the people of Minamata. Twelve years later, in 1971 the government finally released the cause: contamination caused by the dumping of waste into Minamata Bay, from a nearby chemical plant that included mercury.

This horrific yet eye-opening historic event has been turned from a book by W. Eugene Smith and Aileen M. Smith into a film starring Johnny Depp.

THE FIRST MINAMATA CONVENTION

The first Minamata Convention of the United Nations took place in September 2017 to focus on how to reduce and eliminate mercury emissions from small scale gold mining because it contributes over 37 % of all global mercury emissions.

THE UN CALLS IT A "WORLDWIDE CRISIS"

99% of small-scale gold mining for jewelry is mined releasing toxic mercury emissions into the ecosystem traveling vast distances through the atmosphere and waterways and causing irreversible damage to our health the environment.

FUTURA became a UN Partner in 2018 to encourage more mines and miners to adopt safe sustainable mining practices, by reducing these incredibly harmful mercury emissions.

CLEAN GOLD FOR A CLEAN FUTURE 

FUTURA was born as an ethical, sustainable and traceable jewelry industry leader that only uses 18kt Certified Fairmined Ecological gold that is mined cleanly, without the use of mercury and other harmful chemicals.

By choosing FUTURA Jewelry you are also choosing to make this a mercury-free world, so that devastating events like this one in Minamata, Japan will never happen again. Let’s keep our planet clean, together.