**** LATEST NEWS! ****

New treaty’s entry into force set to curtail global mercury crisis, say NGOs

BRUSSELS - 16 AUGUST 2017
TODAY’S ENTRY INTO FORCE OF THE MINAMATA CONVENTION ESTABLISHES THE FIRST NEW MULTILATERAL ENVIRONMENTAL AGREEMENT IN OVER A DECADE.  THE ZERO MERCURY WORKING GROUP* HAS BEEN CALLING FOR A LEGALLY BINDING TREATY FOR OVER A DECADE AND WELCOMES THE NEW PROTOCOL.

“While there are alternatives to mercury, there are no alternatives to global cooperation,” said Michael Bender, coordinator of the Zero Mercury Working Group. “Mercury respects no boundaries and exposes people everywhere”
“Only a global pact can curtail this dangerous neurotoxin.”

In October 2013 the convention text was adopted and signed by 128 countries, but would not take legal effect until at least 50 countries had ratified it formally.  This milestone was reached in May of this year, and the convention enters into force today 16 August. 

“We are now on the right track,” said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Project Manager, European Environmental Bureau and ZMWG co- coordinator. 

“Over time, the Convention is expected to provide the necessary technical and financial resources to reduce the risk of exposure to mercury worldwide. Governments must therefore move swiftly towards efficient implementation of the Treaty’s provisions”.

The aim of the Convention is "to protect the human health and the environment” from mercury releases.

The treaty holds critical obligations for Parties to ban new primary mercury mines while phasing out existing ones and also includes a ban on many common products and processes using mercury, measures to control releases, and a requirement for national plans to reduce mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining.  In addition, it seeks to reduce trade, promote sound storage of mercury and its disposal, address contaminated sites and reduce exposure from this dangerous neurotoxin.

The First Conference of the Parties will take place from 24 to 29 September 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland.  Over 1,000 delegates and around 50 ministers are expected to assemble in Geneva to celebrate and lay the groundwork for the treaty’s overall effectiveness.

The Minamata Convention joins 3 other UN conventions seeking to reduce impacts from chemicals and waste – the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

ENDS 

For more information, see:

http://www.mercuryconvention.org/Negotiations/COP1/tabid/5544/language/en-US/Default.aspx

www.zeromercury.org

Contacts 

Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Project Coordinator ‘Zero Mercury Campaign’, European Environmental Bureau, ZMWG International Coordinator
T: +32 2 2891301,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " data-mce-href="mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Michael Bender, ZMWG International Coordinator, T: +1 802 917 8222,   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " data-mce-href="mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Notes to the editors:

Mercury is a global pollutant that travels long distances. Its most toxic form – methylmercury - accumulates in large predatory fish and is taken up in our bodies through eating fish, with the worst impacts on babies in utero and small children. 

*The Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) is an international coalition of over 95 public interest environmental and health non-governmental organizations from more than 50 countries from around the world formed in 2005 by the European Environmental Bureau and the Mercury Policy Project.  ZMWG strives for zero supply, demand, and emissions of mercury from all anthropogenic sources, with the goal of reducing mercury in the global environment to a minimum.  Our mission is to advocate and support the adoption and implementation of a legally binding instrument which contains mandatory obligations to eliminate where feasible, and otherwise minimize, the global supply and trade of mercury, the global demand for mercury, anthropogenic releases of mercury to the environment, and human and wildlife exposure to mercury.

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) is Europe's largest network of environmental citizens’ organisations, standing for environmental justice, sustainable development and participatory democracy. Our experts work on climate change, biodiversity, circular economy, air, water, soil, chemical pollution, as well as policies on industry, energy, agriculture, product design and waste prevention. We are also active on overarching issues as sustainable development, good governance, participatory democracy and the rule of law in Europe and beyond.

We have over 140 members in over 30 countries.

EC register for interest representatives: Identification number 06798511314-27
International non-profit association - Association internationale sans but lucratif (AISBL)

 
Home Press Releases EU TO EXPAND PHASE-OUT OF MERCURY MEASURING DEVICES
EU TO EXPAND PHASE-OUT OF MERCURY MEASURING DEVICES PDF Print
Wednesday, 03 October 2012 00:00

EEB LOGO_FINAL_ health care_without_harm_logo  zeromercury logo

 

EU TO EXPAND PHASE-OUT OF MERCURY MEASURING DEVICES

 

03/10/2012, Brussels—Health Care Without Harm(HCWH), the European Environment Bureau(EEB) and the Zero Mercury Working Group today applauded the EU’s decision to take off the market mercury sphygmomanometers and other measuring devices for industrial and professional use starting April 2014[i].

“This is an important step forward that will move the entire European Union quickly toward mercury-free health care,” said Anja Leetz, Executive Director of HCWH Europe.   “The mercury column sphygmomanometer will soon become an historical relic in Europe.”

“Substituting such devices[ii] not only takes 7,6 tons of mercury off the market, ” said Elena  Lymberidi-Settimo, Project Coordinator 'Zero Mercury Campaign’ at the EEB, “but in doing so, EU governments send a strong signal that they will likely call for similar measures to be enshrined in the global mercury treaty text that is currently entering the final stages of negotiation.” 

The EU regulation, makes minor exceptions for blood pressure devices already in use in ongoing epidemiological studies and as reference standards in clinical validation studies of mercury-free sphygmomanometers, as well as  for a couple of other instruments.

The regulation also amends the existing 2007 ban on mercury thermometers[iii].  It is based on a clear finding by a European Commission scientific committee that “there is no evidence of adverse effects on patients’ health in clinical settings due to the replacement of mercury containing sphygmomanometers by validated mercury-free alternatives.”[iv]

“By mandating the phase-out of nearly all mercury-based medical devices, the European Union is sending a signal to the rest of the world that mercury-free health care is the future,” said Josh Karliner, International Coordinator for HCWH and co-leader of a joint Global Initiative with the World Health Organization to phase-out mercury-based medical devices around the world.  “One of the objectives of this global initiative—to phase out mercury sphygmomanometers in the European Union—has now been achieved.”

Yet work remains to be done.  “For the regulation to be fully effective, we also need EU measures  to collect and manage in an environmentally safe manner, the 134 tonnes [v] of mercury in devices already present in the market, as highlighted by the EU Chemicals Agency committees’ experts[vi]”said Michael Bender, International Co-coordinator of ZMWG, “Furthermore production of such devices intended for export should be addressed, and the EC needs to urgently investigate the use of mercury in porosimeters since they represent the biggest use of mercury in measuring equipment (5-14 tonnes) - and propose relevant new legislative measures.”

For more information please contact:

 

Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Project Coordinator “Zero Mercury Campaign”, European Environmental Bureau, International Co-coordinator Zero Mercury Working Group, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , T: +32 2 2891301

Anja Leetz, Executive Director, HCWH Europe,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   T:+49 6222 76 93 202

Note to the editors

The EU regulation can be found here: (adopted on 19 September 2012)  http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2012:253:0001:0004:EN:PDF

The EU Scientific Committee Report can be found here:  http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/04_scenihr/docs/scenihr_o_025.pdf

The WHO-HCWH Global Mercury-Free Healthcare Initiative here:  www.mercuryfreehealthcare.org

The Zero Mercury Working Group here: www.zeromercury.org

Health Care Without Harm here:  www.noharm.org



[ii] Barometers, hygrometers, manometers, sphygmomanometers, strain gauges to be used with plethysmographs, tensiometers, thermometers and other non –electrical thermometric applications, mercury pycnometers, mercury metering devices for determination of the softening point

[iii] And other measuring devices for consumer use.