Developing consensus: mercury science and policy in the NAFTA countries (Canada, the United States and Mexico)

Sci Total Environ. 2000 Oct 16;261(1-3):185-93. doi: 10.1016/s0048-9697(00)00635-5.


The international science community has recognized methylmercury in the aquatic food chain, as a potential environmental and human health risk. As a result, countries around the world have implemented a number of mercury management initiatives. The United States, Mexico and Canada in consultation with stakeholders are developing a trilateral North American Regional Action Plan (NARAP) on mercury. Through public involvement in the decision making process, the NARAP has offered opportunities for more transparency in transactions between governments, industry and stakeholders. In spite of the available scientific information, there are still important uncertainties associated with the mercury issue. These knowledge gaps include: the most appropriate methylmercury reference dose for sensitive groups; the percentage of the North American population that is at risk from methylmercury exposure; spatial and temporal mercury deposition patterns in each country; the link between mercury emissions, atmospheric deposition and methylmercury concentrations in fish; and the relative magnitude of contributions from natural and anthropogenic sources.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Canada
  • Diet
  • Environmental Pollution / prevention & control*
  • Fishes
  • Food Contamination
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • Mercury / adverse effects
  • Mercury / analysis*
  • Methylmercury Compounds / adverse effects
  • Methylmercury Compounds / analysis*
  • Mexico
  • Public Health*
  • Public Policy*
  • Risk Assessment
  • United States


  • Methylmercury Compounds
  • Mercury