From Power Plant to Table

Reducing mercury exposure is a wicked problem that links the environmental, health, and social sciences. This Seed project 'From Power Plant to Table: Linking global mercury emissions to Australian fish consumption' lays the groundwork for mercury policy-to-impact analyses that can quantify the health benefits of emission reduction driven by the Minamata Convention.

Mercury is a toxic pollutant that threatens human health and ecosystems. This threat is increasing with climate change. In recognition of mercury’s adverse impacts, more than 100 countries have now ratified the United Nations’ Minamata Convention on Mercury, which came into effect in August 2017. The goal of the treaty is to reduce mercury emissions to protect human and environmental health, including marine zones which are particularly vulnerable to mercury contamination and are the main link between sources and exposure. This project aims to understand the links between emission reduction policies enacted in response to the Minamata Convention, mercury deposition to marine zones, and exposure in the Australian population.

The health of Australia’s population and coastal ecosystems stands to benefit from global mercury emissions reductions. Our per capita mercury emissions are among the highest in the world and our regulations are significantly weaker than other developed countries. Despite local policy deficiencies, the team hypothesise that Australian population exposure through food is largely driven by pollution from emitters upwind. Their primary aim is to scope whether sufficient data exist to test this.


Jenny Fisher (SMAH), Anna Farmery (BAL), Michael Bertolacci (EIS), Karen Charlton (SMAH)


This project is working towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals:

Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing     Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy     Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production     Goal 14: Life Below Water     Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals