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Mercury Poisoning and Dolphin Slaughter

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by Claire Denny on 3 December 2010

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Transcript of Mercury Poisoning and Dolphin Slaughter

Mercury Poisoning and Dolphin Slaughter In Japan Mercury is an extremely toxic substance that is released when coal is burned. It is the most toxic substance that is non radioactive. Mercury is an immortal element which means that once it is released into the environment, there is no way to get rid of it. Also, once eaten, there is no way of it leaving an organisms body. Mercury is released into the air when coal is burned in factories. It falls to the ground and into water supplies, contaminating them. Mercury in The Food Chain It all starts here... Taiji, Japan Mercury is pumped into the air from the Chisso factory Then, the mercury falls into the water and is eaten by bacteria Plankton eat the bacteria that are now contaminated with mercury After that, small fish eat the plankton The small fish are eaten by bigger fish And finally, the bigger fish are eaten by dolphins Now at the top of the food chain, the dolphins are highly contaminated with mercury and other pollutants. Every step up on the food chain (where an organism eats another contaminated organism) the mercury level’s toxicity is magnified about 10 times. Because there is so much mercury, almost all of the dolphins in the Minamata Bay area have eaten fish that have been contaminated, making the dolphins contaminated with mercury as well. So here's the problem... The Big Problem The Japanese government is allowing over 20,000 dolphins to be slaughtered every year in Taiji. The government has lied to the fisherman and told them that they are helping to maintain pest control. The dolphins are being killed in inhumane ways, & they are also being killed in huge numbers. how is this effecting us? When people consume dolphin meat that is contaminated with mercury (all dolphin meat in the Taiji area) there is a huge chance that they could get mercury poisoning. Mercury impairs neurological development in children and in women who are pregnant. Mercury poisoning also impacts motor skills, thinking, attention and memory. Exposure to mercury can cause irreversible neurological damage in children. Mercury, while in the brain, destroys neurons that are necessary for everyday functions. what is the Japanese government doing about it? The Japanese government does not put a warning label on dolphin/whale meat that indicates it poses a major health hazard. Some fisherman and government workers also say that Japanese citizens have no right knowing about dolphin slaughter or the high level of mercury. Therefore, most people have no knowledge that the dolphin slaughter and mercury poisoning issue even exists. The Japanese fovernment is creating their own problems. 90% of all dolphin meat tested far exceeded the limit for mercury consumption. The samples of the dolphin meat that were tested were bought in a grocery store. Because the mercury levels in dolphin meat were so high, the Okukwa Co. supermarkets permanently removed dolphin meat from their shelves. The fact that the Japanese government is concealing this information is a violation of Article 21 in the Japanese Constitution. In 2006, Japanese children were given free dolphin meat as a part of lunch programs. This continued up until 2009 when dolphin meat was taken off of school menus due to contamination. 30% of children in Minamata and surrounding towns were thought to have cerebral palsy or some type of mental retardation. Neither of these things were true, but the symptoms were due to the consumption of dolphin meat. In 2010, the National Insitute for Minamata disease tested 1,137 people from Taiji. 182 citizens from Taiji had extremely high levels of mercury in their body, and the rest averaged a higher amount than physically safe. This is becoming a national problem for Japan, yet the government is doing little to nothing about it. Thanks to the efforts of many people and foundations, less dolphins are being caught each year and more people in Japan are becoming aware of the effects of eating dolphin meat. However there are still dolphins out there being slaughtered, and people dying. Sign a petition on http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/724/210/624/, spread the word, or donate at https://opsociety.worldsecuresystems.com/securedonation.htm Stop Dolphin Slaughter and Mercury Poisoning Now. Minamata Bay & Taiji, Japan Mercury poisoning - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved November 27, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_poisoning

Minamata disease - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved November 27, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minamata_disease

SaveJapanDolphins.org | Blog. (n.d.). SaveJapanDolphins.org | Ending dolphin slaughter in Taiji. Retrieved November 27, 2010, from http://www.savejapandolphins.org/blog.html

SaveJapanDolphins.org | Ending dolphin slaughter in Taiji. (n.d.). SaveJapanDolphins.org | Ending dolphin slaughter in Taiji. Retrieved November 27, 2010, from http://www.savejapandolphins.org/

country. (n.d.). Dolphin drive hunting - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved November 27, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolphin_drive_hunting

mercury, c. l., Bay, t. r., 1970, l. u., & estimates., 1. y. (n.d.). Mercury poisoning of thousands confirmed | World news | The Guardian . Latest news, comment and reviews from the Guardian | guardian.co.uk . Retrieved November 27, 2010, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/ 1925., & Bay, t. C. (n.d.). Minamata Disaster. Page has moved. Retrieved November 27, 2010, from http://www1.american.edu/ted/MINAMATA.HTM

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Allchin, D. (n.d.). The Poisoning of Minamata . University of Minnesota. Retrieved November 27, 2010, from http://www1.umn.edu/ships/ethics/minamata.htm

Dillard, J. N., & M.D.. (n.d.). Clean Fish, Dirty Fish - The East Hampton Star - To Your Health . The East Hampton Star. Retrieved November 27, 2010, from http://www.easthamptonstar.com/dnn/ToYourHealth/CleanFishDirtyFish/tabid/13664/Default.aspx

How does mercury enter the food chain?. (n.d.). The Cove Movie: Welcome. Retrieved November 27, 2010, from http://www.thecovemovie.com/FAQRetrieve.aspx?ID=37076

MATSUTANI, M. (n.d.). Most Taiji residents rest easy, refuse to change diet | The Japan Times Online. The Japan Times Online: News on Japan, Business News, Opinion, Sports, Entertainment and More. Retrieved November 27, 2010, from http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20100510a2.html Bibliography Presentation By: Claire Denny what are some symptoms of mercury poisoning? Mercury poisoning, minamata disease, and other mercury caused diseases all have similar symptoms: Rashes, mood swings and memory loss, muscle weakness, mental disturbances, numbness, impairment of peripheral vision, speech, walking, hearing and lack of coordination. However, mercury effects each person differently. The Start of Minamata Disease Minamata Bay Minamata Bay is a small fishing and farming town on the Shirauni Sea. It is on the island of Wakayama on the Kii peninsula. Minamata Bay is notorious for being a "factory town" and it's most famous factory being the Chisso Factory. The spread of minamata disease didn't occur until the early 1900's. Although the symptoms started out subtley, no one knew how much of a problem and health hazard this would turn into. The Chisso factory began running in 1907 and started dumping waste water from their factory in 1925. This is when the effects of Minamata disease became more apparent. Fish began to float to the surface, birds died in midflight and cats "danced" in the streets as if possessed. The company started paying fisherman for the damage they caused. This, to them, was easier and cheaper than cleaning up the mess they made. In 1932, Chisso began creating new products with a new chemical called acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is based from mercury compound. Soon enough, people began to act strange. It was subtle in the beginning where people couldn't button their buttons, or they would drop their chopsticks but then the symptoms began to get worse. What was the cause of this neurological disease? It wasn't until the 1950's that people began to associate the illness to the pollutants in the water. In 1956, Dr. Hosokawa (from Chisso Hospital) began associating the food with the contaminated water. The company denied any responsibility for contamination of the water. Chisso switched the dumping spot to Minamata river - the only problem was that the river still flowed into the ocean and was still contaminating the fish. The river flowed by another town, and townsmembers began experiencing the same symptoms as the people in Minamata Bay. The government created a ban from fisherman selling fish, but they could still catch fish. People still ate fish but the government wasn't responsible for the illnesses. In 1959, Dr. Hosokawa began doing experiments to test his hypothesis on the pollutants. He fed cats acetaldehyde and their nervous systems began shutting down. After he showed his experiments to the corporation, he was forbidden to continue with any further experiments and his previous experiments were concealed. The Chisso Corporation started paying effected victimes but the contract said "if Chisso Corporation were later proven guilty, the company would not be liable for later compensation." Fisherman began protesting for compensation and the corporation went to court. The Chisso Corporation had been polluting the water consistently for 36 years. They said they stopped in 1969 but the Japanese government has been covering up the fact that Chisso is still polluting today. is now this. what was once this... healthy brain cells brain cells from a body with mercury poisoning Mercury Poisoning
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