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Chronicling Quicksilver's Anthropogenic Cycle

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The advent of the October 2013 Minimata Convention serves as an opportune moment to consider the long and complex historical relationship between humans and mercury. The Minamata Convention constitutes a binding agreement designed to reduce risks associated with mercury pollution and eliminate mercury's global trade. Nevertheless, mercury's environmental hazards persist, thanks to the element's biogeochemical cycle, which moves mercury through the environment. This paper offers a biographical sketch of mercury's place in human history, while stressing the historical importance of the motility of chemical hazards, noting that anthropogenic forces have irreversibly transformed mercury's 'natural' processes.
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Keywords: Grassy Narrows; Minamata; anthropogenic cycle; mercurialism; mercury; mining; mobility studies; pollution

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2014

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  • The half-yearly journal Global Environment: A Journal of History and Natural and Social Sciences acts as a forum and echo chamber for ongoing studies on the environment and world history, with special focus on modern and contemporary topics. Our intent is to gather and stimulate scholarship that, despite a diversity of approaches and themes, shares an environmental perspective on world history in its various facets, including economic development, social relations, production government, and international relations.
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