What´s Minimata Disease

Better Essays
Minamata disease comes from ingesting mercury contaminated fish or shellfish. Minamata was a small fishing village in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan. It is now considered a city, but was the sight of the most unhuman and environmental destruction cases in history.

It started in the 1930s with a company that has been there since the 1907, the Chisso Corporation started to make acetaldehyde, which is used in some plastics. Acetaldehyde (C2H4O or CH3CHO) or Ethyl Aldehyde is sometimes referred as MeCHO. The company’s product waste spill into the village’s fishing bay, which bacteria turned the heavy mental into methyl mercury and later on organic form of methyl mercury chloride (CH3HgCl). The small village relied heavily on its income of fishing, but little did they know that they were being poisoned by mercury in the fishing bay. During that time pets started to behave as if they were drunk uncoordinated, stumbling around, and then falling into the river and dying. Nobody really paid any attention to this, until after the production boom of Acetaldehyde during the 1950s when Chisso started to increase production, and become the world’s largest producer. People noticed others had started to lose their coordination, and they were stumbling around. Others had loss of hearing, and started to have uncontrollable tremors. Some symptoms if mercury poison were so bad that people had contorted bodies, and were paralyzed in half of their bodies. It had gotten so bad that people started to classify it as an epidemic, but still no one know the cause of the symptoms. A local fisherman, Sohachi Hamamoto symptoms appeared as if he were stumbling around, falling off his boat, and then progressed into uncontrolled tremors. When his family took him to ...

... middle of paper ...

...l Journal of Japanese Sociology. Volume15 Issue 1 p. 7-25.
Tsuda, T., Yorifuji, T., Takao, S., Miyai, M., Babazono, A. (2009). Minamata disease: Catastrophic poisoning due to a failed public health response. Journal of Public Health Policy Vol. 30, 1, 54-67.

Hryhorczuk, D., Persky, V., Piorkowski, J., Davis, J., Moomey, C., Krantz, A., Runkle, K., Saxer, T., Baughman, T., McCann, K. (2006). Residential Mercury Spills from Gas Regulators. Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 114, pg 848-852, No. 6. Article Stable URL:
Rennie, A.C., McGregor-Schuerman, M., Dale, I.M., Robinson, C., McWilliam, R. (1999). Lesson of the Week: Mercury Poisoning after Spillage at Home from a Sphygmomanometer on Loan from Hospital. BMJ: British Medical Journal. Vol. 319, pp.366-367. Article Stable URL:
Get Access