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22 September 2017

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PRESS RELEASE: 

New treaty effectiveness will depend on adequacy of data to be collected, say NGOs  

Geneva, Switzerland


Prior to the start of the first Conference of Parties (COP1), the Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) welcomed the entry into force of the Minamata Convention. 

“While there are alternatives to mercury, there are no alternatives to global cooperation,” said Michael Bender, international ZMWG coordinator. “We applaud the world’s governments for committing to curtail 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.
 
During the prior negotiations, the Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee (INC) approved many of the forms and guidance that the Convention specifies must be adopted at COP 1, which are needed for the swift and smooth launch and running of the Convention.  These include guidance documents on identifying stocks, determining best available technologies and reducing mercury use in small scale gold mining; as well as forms for trade procedures and for exemptions from certain deadlines.

“These INC approvals were achieved by consensus after considerable deliberations, and are ready for approval without further debate,” said Satish Sinha, Toxics Link India.

Among the most critical open issues to be discussed at COP1 are the reporting requirements, which will provide critical information on both the global mercury situation and the effectiveness of the Convention in achieving mercury reductions.   Particularly critical to collect will be data on mercury production and trade, which can change significantly in a short period of time.

 “Countries will not have readily available information about production and trade in bordering countries or within their region, unless there is frequent reporting under the Convention,” said David Lennett, Senior Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council “Many borders between countries are “porous,” and where a significant portion of mercury trade is informal/illegal.   Good data on legal trade flows will enable actions to address illegal trade, all of which has a huge impact on artisanal and small scale gold mining, the largest source of mercury pollution globally.

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

For more information, see:

http://www.mercuryconvention.org

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

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

For information on reporting, please contact 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 "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For further information, please contact:

*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 health scientists recommend dental amalgam alternatives to reduce mercury pollution
EU health scientists recommend dental amalgam alternatives to reduce mercury pollution PDF Print
Monday, 22 September 2014 01:11
mercury policy_logoWAMFDlogo minus_addressEEB LOGO FINAL .jpg

 

EU health scientists recommend dental amalgam alternatives to reduce mercury pollution

[12 September 2014, Brussels]  For the first time, the European Commission’s scientific committee on health has recommended mercury-free alternatives in place of dental amalgam for children’s primary teeth and in pregnant patients. EU and international NGOs [1] welcomed this and called on decision-makers to develop an EU plan to phase-out amalgam with a deadline, particularly for sensitive populations.

“Several studies (see endnotes section) show that it is now time to phase out mercury use in dentistry, for at least pregnant women and children, but also for adults” said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Project Manager, Zero Mercury Campaign at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB).  “The European Commission must prepare measures for phase out when preparing dental-related legislative proposals to be included in the “Minamata ratification package”[2], and go for options beyond what the treaty calls for.”

The key finding in the preliminary opinion from the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR), are in line with the Minamata Convention and the general aim to reduce mercury use within the European Union:“…for primary teeth, and in pregnant patients, alternative materials to amalgam should be the first choice.”[3]

Many EU countries – including Sweden, Finland, and Denmark, among others – have virtually phased out amalgam use, indicating that the alternatives are more than adequate.

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.”

While the SCENIHR has now given more attention to the rising threat of dental mercury pollution, concerns remain that SCENIHR is still not adequately addressing the health concerns scientists have about mercury in amalgam.[4]

Mercury is a highly neurotoxic product which can cause brain damage to children and foetuses.  Dental amalgam is about 50% mercury. 

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.  For more information, see:  http://www.zeromercury.org/.

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.  For more information, see:  http://www.toxicteeth.org/.

The Mercury Policy Project (MPP) works to promote policies to eliminate mercury uses, reduce the export and trafficking of mercury, and significantly reduce mercury exposures at the local, national, and international levels. We strive to work harmoniously with other groups and individuals who have similar goals and interests.  For more information, see:  http://mercurypolicy.org/.

 [2] http://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/MinamataConvention

[3] SCENIHR, page 71

[4] http://braindrain.dk/2014/09/mercury-fillings/

Background reading:

Contacts

-Margherita Tolotto, Project Support Officer ‘Zero Mercury Campaign’, European Environmental Bureau, T: +32 2 2891308, 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=F5F34E51-5056-B741-DB49ECAEF5C63DA9