A bipartisan group of eight Senators today introduced a sense of the Senate resolution urging the Administration to engage constructively in international dialogue on mercury and to prepare a comprehensive strategy to swiftly reduce global mercury pollution and use. The Senators introducing the legislation include: Jim Jeffords (I-VT), Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), Paul Sarbanes (D-MD), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Joe Lieberman (D-CT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Mark Dayton (D-MN), and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). They want the Administration to be proactive as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) considers country recommendations for international agreements to limit mercury use, trade, mining, and pollution. These strategies will be considered at the next UNEP Governing Council meeting in February. To date, the Administration has taken no position on any potential treaty. In particular, the Senators advocate development of a U.S. strategy leading to international negotiations on a binding agreement for mercury, where all nations with significant contributions to the global pollution problem share responsibility for action. Since mercury pollution can travel the globe, international cooperation is vital to protecting public health and the environment. Mercury is a persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic heavy metal found naturally in the environment but also emitted into the air, land, and water during fossil fuel combustion, waste incineration, chlorine production, mining, and other industrial processes. It is also traded as a commodity and used in the manufacturing of many products, though alternatives exist for most of those purposes. Once mercury reaches our waterways, it is transformed into a highly toxic form and builds up in the tissue of fish and animals that become part of our diet. Consumption of mercury-contaminated fish and seafood by pregnant women can cause serious neurodevelopmental harm in the fetus. In the United States, this is the primary means of exposure to mercury. In the developing world, however, mercury exposure and contamination, as well as related health effects, are often more severe with direct exposure impacts on adults and children. Currently, 48 states have fish consumption advisories for mercury.