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Planetary Health for Post-Conflict Colombia
Across the globe, there are over 81,000 anthropogenic chemicals used per year. Most of these chemicals are used in a responsible manner, and nearly all serve an important function. However, approximately 700 new chemicals are developed each year and over 62,000 chemicals are “grandfathered” in to the global industry with limited testing requirements regarding health effect(s) on humans or ecosystems. Development of new technologies (such as those based on novel chemistry) is vital, but life cycle assessments must be enforced in order to protect planetary health (i.e., human health and the natural systems that underpin it). Often, observed detrimental effects in natural systems are not due to a single compound, but the synergistic action of two or more compounds/factors (known as combinatorial effects).
Mercury and gold mining
Mercury is a naturally occurring element that can be found throughout the environment. Environmental contamination with
mercury is an "old” problem and has been banned in various forms since 1941 (in the US). In 2013, the Minamata Convention on Mercury was formed. This is an international treaty designed to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury. The Convention was signed by delegates from 140 countries in 2013, including Colombia. Each country vowed to make efforts to prohibit release of mercury above the Research Council reference dose of 1 ppm.