Health & Fitness

What causes Minamata disease?

By: Lukas NimmoUpdated: December 14, 2020


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    August 19, 2022
Minamata disease is a poisoning disease that affects mainly the central nervous system and is caused by the consumption of large quantities of fish and shellfish living in Minamata Bay and its surroundings, the major causative agent being some sort of organic mercury compound.

Also to know is, how was Minamata disease resolved?

After several rounds of civil lawsuits, the issue of legal responsibility for Minamata disease was finally resolved about half a century after its discovery in 2004, when the Japanese Supreme Court ruled that the national government and Kumamoto Prefecture were jointly responsible for the cause and spread of Minamata

Subsequently, question is, what happened at Minamata Bay?

Minamata disease
Minamata Bay was heavily polluted in the 1950s and 1960s by wastewater, mixed with mercury dumped into Hyakken Harbour from the Chisso Corporation's factory in Minamata, particularly by methylmercury. The poisoning of Minamata Bay had a large impact on Japanese culture as well.

When did the Minamata Bay disaster happen?

May 1956

Can Minamata disease be cured?

Minamata disease Q&A
Once nerve cells die, they cannot regenerate. It is difficult to cure patients with severe nerve cell damages. Residual symptoms are treated with medication or rehabilitation. Some of them can be controlled to some extent.


Is Minamata disease still around?

Japan's Minamata Disease Still Lingers. Today, the tragedy known as Minamata Disease is only a dim memory to the rest of the world, and few outside Japan would recognize Chisso Corp. as the company that polluted Minamata Bay and the Shiranui Sea with deadly methylmercury.

Which metal is responsible for Minamata disease?

Minamata disease is a methylmercury poisoning with neurological symptoms and caused by the daily consump- tion of large quantities of fish and shellfish that were heavily contaminated with the toxic chemical generated in chemical factories and then discharged into the sea.

What is the cause of Itai Itai disease?

Cause. Itai-itai disease was caused by cadmium poisoning due to mining in Toyama Prefecture. The earliest records of mining for gold in the area date back to 1710. Regular mining for silver started in 1589, and soon thereafter, mining for lead, copper, and zinc began.

What is meant by Minamata?

Medical Definition of Minamata disease
: a toxic neuropathy caused by the ingestion of methylmercury compounds (as in contaminated seafood) and characterized by impairment of cerebral functions, constriction of the visual field, and progressive weakening of muscles.

Which disease is caused by mercury poisoning?

Outbreaks of methylmercury poisoning occurred in several places in Japan during the 1950s due to industrial discharges of mercury into rivers and coastal waters. The best-known instances were in Minamata and Niigata. In Minamata alone, more than 600 people died due to what became known as Minamata disease.

Do Japanese get mercury poisoning?

Japan does have strict mercury standards, but concerns about contamination remain. When was mercury recognized as a problem in Japan? In 1959, Kumamoto University scientists identified mercury poisoning as the cause of Minamata disease, three years after the first victims were officially recognized.

What is dancing cat disease?

Minamata disease is a neurological disease caused by severe mercury poisoning. Minamata disease was first discovered in Minamata city in Kumamoto prefecture, Japan, in 1956. The animal effects were severe enough in cats that they came to be named as having “dancing cat fever.”

What did they discover from the Chisso factory scenario?

In 1956, a doctor at Chisso's factory reported increased cases of individuals with nervous system damage, officially recognising the existence of what came to be known as Minamata disease.

How did Minamata disease affect the environment?

Its major symptoms include sensory disturbance, ataxia, concentric constriction of the visual field, and auditory disorders. Minamata Disease, a form of health damage triggered by environmental pollution, caused major issues to the nature of polluted areas and local society at large.

Why is methylmercury toxic?

Methylmercury (MeHg) is the major organic form we are exposed to when we eat fish. All fish and shellfish contain some MeHg, but larger, longer-lived predatory fish generally have the highest levels. MeHg is particularly hazardous because it can cross the blood-brain barrier.

How can people avoid getting Minamata disease?

Minamata disease can be prevented by reducing or eliminating one's consumption of fish caught from bodies of water that are contaminated with high concentrations of mercury.

What foods are high in mercury?

A highly toxic form (methylmercury) builds up in fish, shellfish and animals that eat fish. Fish and shellfish are the main sources of methylmercury exposure to humans. Fish that typically have higher levels of mercury include king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, tilefish, and ahi and bigeye tuna.