**** LATEST NEWS! ****

Press Release

For immediate release, February 8th ,2016

***

New Commission proposal puts EU on path from hero to zero to address global mercury crisis

Brussels, 8 February 2016 – The European Commission has quietly launched its new mercury package on 2nd February 2016 [1], moving the EU a step closer towards ratifying the Minamata Convention, a UN treaty to stamp out mercury [2]. While the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) welcomes the new package, its content fails to meet even the lowest of expectations.

We are deeply disappointed with this bare-bones proposal from the Commission,” said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Zero Mercury Campaign Project Manager.  “Under the guise of Better Regulation, it is putting the EU on an embarrassing path from hero to zero in addressing the global mercury crisis.  The proposal effectively ignores a public consultation, progressive industry voices, and even the scientific findings of its own impact assessment.”

The package sets out plans to update existing EU law in line with the internationally-agreed goals to limit mercury supply, use and emissions under the treaty. Despite the EU having played a leading role in the formation of the Convention, the new plan to put it into practice appears to have fallen victim to the EU’s Better Regulation agenda. The package was already delayed by over a year – pushing back the UN treaty ratification process [3] – and ambition is thin on the ground.

The new proposals follow the lowest-cost approach across the board rather than promoting higher environmental protection, according to the EEB. Elsewhere, other ‘new’ proposals are simply repackaged existing EU legislation, and some of the treaty requirements seem not to be covered by the proposal at all.

Mercury and its compounds are highly toxic to humans, especially to the developing nervous system. Mercury transforms to neurotoxic methylmercury, which has the capacity to collect in organisms (bioaccumulate) and to concentrate up food chains (biomagnify), especially in the aquatic food chain – fish, the basic food source for millions of people.

Recent studies indicate that mercury levels are increasing in tuna by 4% per year, correlating with the continuing rise in mercury in the global environment. If steps are not taken to reduce global mercury pollution, levels of mercury are expected to double by 2050 [4]. 

The EEB will now be calling on the European Parliament and Member States to recognise the gravity of the situation and adopt measures that will reduce and eliminate all unnecessary uses and releases of mercury.

***

For more information, please contact:

Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Zero Mercury Campaign Project Manager, +32 (2) 289 13 01, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Paul Hallows, Communications Officer, +32 (2) 790 88 17, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

***

Notes to editors:

[1] Ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury by the EU

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/chemicals/mercury/ratification_en.htm

[2] The Minimata Convention on Mercury http://www.mercuryconvention.org

To meet the Convention requirements, six areas are identified which need additional legislation at the EU level:

  • The import of mercury

  • The export of certain mercury added products

  • The use of mercury in certain manufacturing processes

  • New mercury uses in product and manufacturing processes

  • Mercury use in artisanal and small scale gold mining (ASGM)

  • Mercury use in dental amalgams

[3] NGOs Letter to the European Commission - The EU and its Member States should rapidly ratify the Minamata Convention on mercury, 14 December 2015

http://www.zeromercury.org/index.php?option=com_phocadownload&;view=file&id=199:the-european-union-eu-and-its-member-states-ms-should-rapidly-ratify-the&Itemid=15

[4] Over the past year, it has become more apparent than ever that the global mercury crisis is affecting the food we eat.  Mercury concentrations in tuna are increasing at a rate of 3.8 percent or more per year, according to a new study that suggests rising atmospheric levels of the toxin are to blame. This correlates with recent studies showing that mercury levels in the global environment are set to double by 2050, if current pollution and deposition rates continue. More information: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150202151217.htm

Home Press Releases EEB welcomes strengthening of EU mercury laws
EEB welcomes strengthening of EU mercury laws PDF Print
Thursday, 08 December 2016 17:07

Afficher l'image d'origine




Brussels, 8 December 2016

EEB welcomes strengthening of EU mercury laws 

The EEB today welcomed the deal struck in the early hours of yesterday (7 December) by the European Commission, EU Member States and the European Parliament to beef up the EU mercury regulation. This opens the way to the EU now swiftly ratifying the Minamata Convention on Mercury

Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Zero Mercury Campaign Project Manager, commented:

We are glad that the provisionally agreed text improves the Commission’s initial proposal. It strengthens the EU mercury regulation and on a number of issues goes beyond the requirements of the Minamata Convention. This sends the right signal to the rest of world that mercury elimination is necessary and possible. The decision to end dental amalgam use in children and pregnant and breastfeeding women is great news, but it is disappointing that a general phase out was not agreed. The failure to end the export of all mercury-added products already prohibited in the EU and mercury use in some processes sooner rather than later also suggests that financial interests still prevailed over health and nature protection for certain issues.”

In particular the EEB praised the proposed improvements for the management of mercury waste and the fact  that liquid mercury waste will have to be converted to a solid form before its final disposal in underground salt mines or in dedicated above ground facilities (with an additional solidification step).

Lymberidi-Settimo added:

This is a clear gain in terms of environmental protection and reduced risk for future generations.” 

For further information contact:

Philippa Nuttall Jones, Communications Manager, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 0032 (0)4 71 57 01 81