Celia Chen, Ph.D., Dartmouth College Superfund Research Program (SRP) researcher and Research Translation Core leader, attended the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee in Geneva, Switzerland in January of 2013. The purpose of this meeting, sponsored by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), was to prepare a global legally binding instrument on mercury.
Chen attended the negotiations on the mercury treaty representing Dartmouth College and the Coastal and Marine Mercury Ecosystem Research Collaborative (C-MERC), a group sponsored by the Dartmouth College Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program. C-MERC focuses on identifying key processes related to the inputs, cycling, and uptake of mercury in marine ecosystems and the pathways to human exposure.
As a member of the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership, Chen observed the international process of negotiation and attended contact group meetings where articles of the Treaty on mercury emissions and releases as well as mercury products and processes were reviewed and modified line by line.
Chen also distributed 300 copies of a report recently released by C-MERC, Sources to Seafood: Mercury Pollution in the Marine Environment, which reviews the pathways of mercury pollution leading to seafood across marine systems.
Chen sees this research translation as a crucial role that scientists must play in policy-making forums. “We need to take what we know about the science and put it in a language that is accessible to policy makers,” said Chen.
Chen also displayed a C-MERC poster during the meeting and collaborated with Noelle Selin, Ph.D., of MIT and her graduate students who assisted with the distribution of the C-MERC report and communicated its key message to attendees.
For more information about Chen and C-MERC, visit the Dartmouth SRP website.