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Minamata is the name of a neurological disease that closely resembles cerebral palsy. It develops from poisoning by methyl mercury that enters the food chain from industrial wastewater. It was first identified at Minamata, Japan. The expression “mad as a hatter” derives from the use of mercury compounds that affect the human brain that were absorbed by tanners who made top hats from rabbit fur using mercurous nitrate. Somewhat similar symptoms developed in the people of Minamata from the seafood they ate, which was drawn from Minamata Bay.

Minamata Bay is located on the western side of Kyushu, the southernmost of the four main Japanese islands. The bay is part of the Shiranui Sea, which is abundant in fish, clams, crabs, and other sea creatures. Fish ...

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