Representatives from more than 140 countries, including the United States, signed onto a new United Nations agreement which calls for coordinated global cuts in the use and release of mercury.

Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin associated with industrial activities. Last week’s landmark agreement follows on the heels of the Obama administration pledging to overturn a Bush era plan to allow some U.S. power plants to increase mercury emissions despite the health and ecological risks. According to U.N. insiders, the American turnaround on the issue helped convince China and India, the world’s two fastest developing large nations, to agree with the proposed emissions cuts.

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