The ‘Food Safety Network’ collaborates to reduce mercury in the world

It conducts a study to analyze the analytical capacities installed in Argentina to detect this metal.

Argentina has adhered to the Minamata Agreement on Mercury with the National Law N°27,356. The accord seeks to protect human health and the environment from the harmful effects of mercury and its compounds. The Agreement -which came into effect on August 2017- aims to focus on this metal that has natural origin, daily use worldwide, and is frequently released to the atmosphere, the soil and water from different sources.

In this context, the Secretariat of the Government of Environment and Sustainable Development of the Nation (SGA and DS in Spanish) is working to learn about the situation of mercury in our country to design and implement an action plan. For this reason, the “Mercury Initial Assessment” (MIA) was created with the project PNUD ARG/18/G25. The objective is to have the necessary tools to develop a national plan for the application of the agreement.

The Food Safety Network (RSA in Spanish) of CONICET was invited to collaborate in this challenge by proving technical support and conducting a study to collect information about mercury on soils, sediments, waters, food, among others.

For this reason, the RSA has launched a national survey to learn about the analytic capacities installed in the country for the determination of mercury in different matrices. Public and private institutions that work on mercury are invited to answer it.

The survey is available up to June 29th, in the official website of RSA and the link to have access to it is here.

The study will include the assessment of the written work on mercury available in Argentina, the analysis of the analytic results provided by public and private institutions, the identification of entities with analytic capacity for the determination of mercury and the survey on the research teams linked to this problem. It will also analyze the international, national and provincial regulations and the existence of regional monitoring networks.

The results will be published in one technical report and will be part of the MIA Project. Besides, it will constitute a key element in the development of a National Implementation Plant. “The information obtained will allow us to learn about the strengths and weaknesses in mercury analysis at the national level. Therefore, we need that all institutions that conduct this work get involve and send us their answers,” said Juan Martín Oteiza, CONICET researcher at the ‘Center for Research and Technical Assistance to Industry of the province of Neuquén’ (CIATI AC) and member of the RSA.

The study is conducted by a multidisciplinary group that comprises researchers and fellows with extensive experience in the subject. For them, “The great challenge Argentina faces is not only to eliminate the use of this pollutant, but also to know about the consequences of its pollution, and for that reason, it is necessary to learn about its current situation.”


Juan Martín Oteiza (RSA – CIATI – CONICET)



Fabiola Alvarez (CNEA)

Soraya Bellini (CIATI)


Mauricio Javier Diaz Jaramillo (IIMyC – UNMdP)

Leticia Escudero (QUIANID – ICB –  UNCUYO – CONICET)

Maria Herminia Hazelhoff (UNR)

Constanza Llorente (SHN – Ministerio de Defensa)

Daniela Nassini (CNEA)

Alejandra Volpedo (RSA – INPA – UBA – CONICET)