140 countries agreed to adopt a treaty limiting the production and use of the health-hazardous mercury, the Swiss foreign ministry said on Saturday, January 19. These countries will be asked to sign the treaty next October in Minamata, Japan, in honor of its residents who have suffered the consequences of mercury contamination. Poisoning from mercury affects the body’s immune system and can lead to psychological disorders, loss of teeth, and problems with the digestive, cardiovascular and respiratory tracts. It likewise affects development of the brain and nervous system. Mercury is used in thermometers, light bulbs, amalgam dental fillings, and is released from small-scale gold mining, among others. Switzerland and Norway had pushed for a treaty on mercury a decade ago, recognizing the risks it posed to health and the environment.