Stated in my previous posts, Japan may be being lead into a widespread mercury poisoning epidemic. While the extent of all this is still being examined, research shows that the evidence is there. Now this isn’t the first time that the Japan has run into trouble with the medical troubles of mercury poisoning and its effect on society. Mercury poisoning A.K.A. Minimata Disease first struck Japan in the 1950’s. It is referred to as Minimata disease because of an ecological and medical disaster that happened in 1956.

Minimata disease is a neurological syndrome caused by severe mercury poisoning. Symptoms include ataxiz, numbness in the hands and feet, general muscle weakness, narrowing of the field of vision and damage to hearing and speech. In extreme cases,insanity, paralysis, coma and death follow within weeks of the onset of symptoms. A congenital form of the disease can also affect fetuses in the womb.

What essentially happened was that the Chisso Corporation that was located in Minimata dumped waste-water into the surrounding ecosystem. This waste-water contained methyl mercury, a highly toxic chemical. Once this was dumped into the surrounding ecosystem it was bioaccumulated by fish and shellfish. The local towns then ate these contaminated sea animals and lead to thousands of deaths. As of March, 2001 2,265 victims have been officially recognized. In more recent news, as of 2010, more than 2,000 cases have come to an agreement with the government and the Chisso corporation for effects of the disease and the actions that took place more than 5 decades ago.