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As new global mercury treaty enters into force, worldwide mercury production skyrockets, 
notes Global NGO Coalition on World Environmental Health Day

Geneva, 26 September 2017- As 156 countries convened for the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention, 
a new UN report shows mercury mining skyrocketing in the last 5 years. Moreover, much of that mercury is used in artisanal and 
small scale gold mining (ASGM), the largest source of global mercury pollution.

Currently, countries do not have reliable information about trade in neighboring countries and within their own region. 
This problem is compounded where borders between countries are “porous,” and a significant portion of trade is informal or illegal. 
For example, mercury may enter a region through legal trade to one country, but then be traded illegally across borders to neighboring countries. 

“Informal trade is difficult to track, and therefore does not appear in the official trade statistics,” said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, 
Project Manager, Zero Mercury Campaign at the European Environmental Bureau. 
“With timely reporting, Parties can better understand mercury flows in order to better enforce trade restrictions in the Convention.”

“In recent years there have been a number of shocks to the global market, resulting in a doubling of the price of mercury in the last 12 months alone,” 
said Michael Bender, Co-coordinator of the Zero Mercury Working Group. “In addition, EU and US export bans now in place have resulted 
in a major shift in the main trading hub to Asia.”

“The emergence over the past five years of new small-scale producers of mercury in Mexico and Indonesia has made a difficult situation worse,” 
said Satish Sinha, Associate Director at Toxics Link in India. “Between these two countries alone, around 1000 tonnes are produced annually.”

“The main objective of the Minamata Convention is to protect human health and the environment by, in part, simultaneously 
reducing mercury supply and demand,” said  Rico Euripidou, Environmental Health Campaign Manager at groundWork 
in South Africa. Without adequate reporting on the global movement of mercury it will 
be difficult to monitor the overall effectiveness of the Convention, say NGOs.

“Annual reporting is consistent with the requirements of other environmental conventions such as Basel and the Montreal Protocol,” 
said Leslie Adogame, Executive Director at Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development in Nigeria.
“Legal trade flows must be understood before informal or illegal trade can be adequately addressed.”

An analysis of publicly available UN COMTRADE data over the period 2013-2016 (see below) reveals that the majority of global mercury flows 
from commodity trading centres (such as Hong Kong, Singapore and the UAE) to developing country regions (such as Africa and Latin America) 
where mercury use in ASGM is prolific in response to the largest global gold rush the world has ever seen. 

see table at the pdf

see also PR in FR 

Notes to the editor

http://www.mercuryconvention.org/

 https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/21725/global_mercury.pdf?sequence=1&;;isAllowed=y

http://www.ifeh.org/wehd/

www.zeromercury.org

For further information, please contact:                                         

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 " target="_blank"> 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 ">  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> 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 " target="_blank"> 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 ">  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> 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

David Lennett, Natural Resources Defense Council, T:  +1 202 460 8517    This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> 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 "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> 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

*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.

Home Press Releases EU scientists finally recognize dental mercury causes 'secondary poisoning'
EU scientists finally recognize dental mercury causes 'secondary poisoning' PDF Print
Tuesday, 18 March 2014 12:03

EEB LOGO FINAL .jpg     World Alliance for Dentistry Free Mercury - Logo.jpg

EU scientists finally recognize dental mercury causes 'secondary poisoning'

[18 March 2014, Brussels]  For the first time, the European Commission’s scientific committee has recognized that the use and subsequent release of mercury from dental amalgam can contaminate the fish we eat.

Environmental NGOs the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry (WAMFD) called on EU decision makers to now propose a ban on dental amalgam.  They highlighted the key finding in the opinion from the Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER), released on Friday 14 March 2014, which now confirms that under certain conditions dental mercury can methylate - forming the most toxic form of mercury, methylmercury - and that: “the acceptable level in fish is exceeded… concluding that a risk for secondary poisoning due to methylation cannot be excluded.” They note that this risk occurs at much lower methylation rates than previously thought.

“The building blocks are in place for the Commission to announce a phase-out date for amalgam – the 2012 an EU commissioned report proposed a phase out by 2018; in 2013 amalgam manufacturers recognizing the ‘demise of amalgam’ and a growing percentage of EU dentists no longer use amalgam nor support its continued use.” said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Project Manager ‘Zero Mercury Campaign’ at the European Environmental Bureau. 

“A number of EU member states have also signed a new global treaty in 2013, the Minamata Convention on Mercury, added Attorney Edith Bon of Paris, European Union Counsel for the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry also. “It is now time for the Commission to act on this.”

The main alternative to amalgam in Europe is composites. This final opinion, also confirms that in contrast to amalgam, any adverse environmental impact of composites is "very limited."

Dr. Bent Christiansen, a dentist from Denmark’s Jutland, said “Amalgam alternatives are now used in the overwhelming majority of cases.  From a dentist’s perspective, the alternatives are plainly superior to amalgam, which requires invasive removal of good tooth matter.  By contrast, alternatives are minimally invasive.  No earthly reason exists for using amalgam for any kind of cavity in a child or adult.” 

Mercury is a highly neurotoxic product which can cause brain damage or even death to children and fetuses.  Dental amalgam is about 50% mercury.  Its use has increasingly been discredited, and it is virtually forbidden in Scandinavian nations.  The Minamata Convention on Mercury, signed by 96 nations in Japan in October 2013, calls for a global phasedown in the use of dental amalgam.  

ENDS

[1] The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) is Europe’s largest federation of environmental citizens’ organisations. It is the environmental voice of European citizens, standing for environmental justice, sustainable development and participatory democracy. Our aim is to ensure the EU secures a healthy environment and rich biodiversity for all.

The World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry (WAMFD) is a coalition of NGOs dedicated to ending dental mercury pollution.  We work with NGOs, dentists, and dental patients on six continents and throughout the EU Member States. 

Background reading:

 

Contacts

Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Project Coordinator ‘Zero Mercury Campaign’, European Environmental Bureau, 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

Attorney Edith Bon, European Union Counsel, World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry,

T: +33 (0)1 45 26 32 46 or +33 (0)6 87 04 11 31, 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  

Alison Abrahams, EEB Communications Officer at 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 +32 (0) 2289 13 09 or +32 (0) 489 304 962

URL: http://www.eeb.org/EEB/?LinkServID=4E70C481-5056-B741-DB7191A18A774BB4