Stopping the child brain drain

HEAL Briefing Paper: Stopping the child brain drain. The emerging public health threat from increasing mercury exposure in Western Balkans

Earlier today, a briefing on the emerging public health threat from increasing mercury exposure in the Western Balkans was launched in Belgrade, Serbia, as part of an exchange on tackling mercury exposure in these countries.

 

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Mercury is particularly harmful to children as it is highly toxic to the developing brain and nervous system. A recent study by one of the leading researchers, Philippe Grandjean has found that preventing exposure to methylmercury (MeHg) could save a potential of more than 600,000 IQ points annually, with a total economic benefit of up to 9 billion EUR per year.

HEAL’s new briefing wants to draw attention to the fact that coal power plants are the number one source of mercury emissions in the EU, and the second largest source globally. With plans to more than double the coal capacity in the Western Balkans from 6.4 to 15 GW, mercury exposure is set to increase. HEAL advocates for the introduction of a moratorium on new coal projects, and a phase out of coal power generation in these countries.