The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) welcomes European Parliament’s vote on mercury
The EEB today welcomed the European Parliament’s vote to restrict the use of mercury within the EU. The new regulation, already informally approved between the EU institutions in December, fills in the legislative gaps at EU level in view of implementing the requirements of the United Nations Minamata Convention on Mercury.
In particular the new regulation, replacing the existing one on a mercury export ban and safe storage, will:
- ban the export of additional mercury compounds;
- ban the export of certain mercury added products already banned from the EU market;
- ban the use of dental amalgam for children under 15 years, and pregnant or breastfeeding women, unless medically necessary;
- Prohibit the use of mercury in certain manufacturing processes, as well as in artisanal and small scale gold mining, in new processes and manufacturing of new products, and
- Require the conversion and if applicable, solidification of metallic mercury waste prior to its final disposal in underground salt mines or specially-engineered landfills, respectively.
Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Zero Mercury Campaign Project Manager at the EEB, commented:
“Today’s vote brings the EU and its Member States closer to the ratification of the Minamata Convention. It signals that the EU is ready to live up to its international commitments and even go beyond the requirements of the Convention by effectively reducing the use, supply and release of mercury.“
The Minamata Convention is a legally-binding agreement at the international level aiming to protect the human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.
Elena Lymberidi-Settimo added:
“Since mercury is a chemical of global concern owing to its long-range atmospheric transport, persistence in the environment, ability to accumulate in ecosystems, and significant impact on human health and the environment, it is important that EU Member States and world countries take immediate action to ratify and swiftly implement the Convention.”