International Mercury Regulation

Principal Investigator: Noelle Selin

Professor Selin’s research focuses on understanding of how mercury, a toxic pollutant, travels and cycles in the environment, under various policy scenarios. This research will be important for the implementation of the Minamata Convention, a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. The IPL is working with Professor Selin to convene scientists and policy makers to help inform the implementation of the Minamata Convention based on scientific research. 

Impact: Professor Selin traveled to meet with the Minamata Convention interim secretariat in May. At that meeting, the secretariat agreed to be involved in preparing a policy brief, and the PI identified participants to interface with on the policy brief effort. On February 9-10, 2017 she held a workshop at MIT to begin drafting a policy document with participants from the African Center for Environmental Health, Tsinghua University, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the UNEP Chemicals and Boston University. Finally, she submitted a public comment on EPA mercury regulations and joined with colleagues at Harvard University to submit an amicus brief in the court case that has resulted from this regulation. The public comment and a 2016 paper by the PI were cited in the final finding on the EPA mercury rule published in April 2016 in the Federal Register.

IPL Support: IPL staff provided feedback on the framing of our public comment and advise on submitting an amicus brief that eventually lead to the PI’s decision to join the effort of her colleagues at Harvard. The IPL assisted with the logistics of the February workshop (arranging travel, accommodations, and invitation letters to the other attendees) and participated in the workshop, providing feedback on framing and the use of storytelling to explain the recommendations in the policy brief.