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GENEVA, Jan 19 (Reuters) - More than 140 countries have
reached a deal to cut mercury emissions after all-night talks in
Geneva, the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) said on Saturday.
The agreement aimed to phase out many common household
products that use the liquid metal, like thermometers and some
flourescent lamps, and reduce emissions from power plants and
cement factories, UNEP spokesman Nick Nuttall told Reuters.
"A treaty to start to begin to rid the world of a notorious
health-hazardous metal was agreed in the morning of Jan. 19,"
The Minamata Convention on Mercury - named after the
Japanese city where people were poisoned in the mid-20th century
from industrial discharges of mercury - could take three to five
years to come into force, UNEP said.
Small-scale gold miners, who use mercury as a catalyst to
separate gold from its ore, would also be protected in the deal
that took three years to negotiate, it added.
(Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Andrew Heavens)