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EU proposes to ratify international Minamata Convention meant to protect citizens from mercury pollution


This is a key step in better protecting EU citizens from mercury pollution. Mercury can travel long distances in the air, thus international action is necessary to protecting people. 40 to 80 % of mercury encountered in the EU derives from global pollution. When released to the environment mercury enters the food chain where it accumulates mainly in fish.

EU proposals:
The package proposed by the Commission covers a limited number of changes to EU mercury legislation, including a prohibition of any new use of mercury in products and industry in the EU, unless such use is needed for the protection of health and the environment. EU Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Karmenu Vella commented: "We are boosting international efforts to protect the people from exposure to mercury and showing the way to eliminating the use of this toxic heavy metal globally." Pending the approval by European Parliament and Council, the ratification of the Convention by the EU and its Member States will help the international Convention to enter into force rendering it legally binding. The Minamata Convention will enter into force three months after the 50th ratification, which is expected in the course of 2017. It will also help to create a level playing field as regards mercury use and emission controls, as all major economies will follow the EU in applying similar requirements. The new regulation also contributes to the better regulation agenda and reduction of administrative burden.

Source: European Commission press release

Related information

European Commision: Ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury by the EU
UNEP: Minamata Convention on Mercury

 Related EVISA Resources

Link Database: Toxicity of Organo-mercury compounds
Link Database: Mercury exposure through the diet
Link Database: Environmental cycling of methylmercury
Link Database: Environmental cycling of inorganic mercury
Link Database: Environmental pollution of methylmercury
Link Database: Environmental pollution of inorganic mercury
Link Database: Toxicity of mercury

 Related EVISA News

October 12, 2013: Minamata Convention is adopted (12.10.2013) 
January 21, 2013: UNEP mercury treaty exempts vaccines for children
January 14, 2013: United Nations Global Mercury Treaty: Fifth and final session
July 15, 2012: World Health Organization Fails In Its Effort To Defend Mercury In Vaccines Before United Nations
October 28, 2011: WHO worries mercury treaty could affect costs and availability of vaccines
August 8, 2011: UNEP Global Mercury Treaty May Include Ban on Mercury in Medicine

last time modified: February 7, 2016


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