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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 End mercury use in dentistry by 2022, civil society challenge European Union
End mercury use in dentistry by 2022, civil society challenge European Union PDF Print
Monday, 04 December 2017 10:51

4 December 2017

PRESS RELEASE: 

End mercury use in dentistry by 2022, civil society challenge European Union

A call to phase out mercury use in dentistry by 2022 in the European Union has been made by health and environmental NGOs.

Mercury is currently used in dental amalgam in fillings and is easily replaceable. Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin which can damage the nervous, renal and cardiovascular systems.
 
Given that dental amalgam is 50 per cent mercury, the Minamata Convention on Mercury requires each participating nation to reduce its use.
 
In 2017, the European Union adopted an amalgam ban for children under the age of 15 and for pregnant and breastfeeding women from July 2018.  The new rule requires also each Member State to set out a national plan to phasing down amalgam use and requires the European Commission to make a recommendation in 2020 on whether to phase out amalgam entirely.
 
The call to set a date to end all use in dentistry in the European Union was made as part of the Berlin Declaration to End Amalgam Use in Europe by 2022 at a two day civil society summit on 21-22 November, in Berlin.
 
The two-day summit drew leadership from dental societies, academia, national, European and international environmental, health and women’s rights NGOs, as well as EU and German stakeholders and decision makers.  
           
Stefan Eck, German MEP, who shepherded the partial amalgam ban through the European Parliament, praised the Berlin Declaration:
"It was important to participate in this summit in Berlin. I will try my best to work with civil societies to accomplish the goal of an amalgam-free dentistry in Europe."
 
Charlie Brown of World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, who organized the summit, said:
“The Berlin Declaration parallels similar civil society goals for Africa and Asia: the Abuja Declaration (2014) and the Dhaka Declaration (2015) respectively.” 
 
Elena Lymberidi-Settimo of the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), which hosted the first European conference to end amalgam a decade ago, said:
“The Berlin Declaration highlights a ten-year campaign by the EEB to bring mercury-free dentistry to this entire continent. It’s now time Member States roll up their sleeves and pave the way.”
 
Florian Schulze of IG Umwelt Zahn Medizin, which hosted the Summit and launched a national campaign, said:
“Germany can end amalgam sooner, in 2019.  Amalgam use is now very low, and dentists are ready for the switch. All we must do is make changes in the insurance system that are fair to dentists and fair to consumers.”
 
 
Philippe Vandendaele of Health Care Without Harm-Europe, said:
“We co-led the campaign to end mercury in the other two medical devices, thermometers and sphygmomanometers, and now Europe needs to tackle the job on the third one, dental amalgam.”
 
Dr Silvia Pleschka of Women Engage for a Common Future, said:
“The protection enshrined for children, pregnant women and breastfeeding women needs to be extended across the board, in the EU and beyond.”

ENDS

Notes for editors

Berlin Declaration, https://mercuryfreedentistry.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/berlin-declaration-to-end-amalgam-use-in-europe-by-2022.pdf
 
EU Mercury regulation 2017,  http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/PE-4-2017-REV-1/en/pdf
 
EEB-WAMFD-Memo on Technical advantages of mercury free dentistry, May 2016
 
Abuja Declaration, https://mercuryfreedentistry.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/abuja-declaration-for-mercury-free-dentistry-for-africa.pdf
 
Dhaka Declaration, http://cephed.org.np/pdf/31421052006.pdf

National German Campaign launched: #OpenYourMouthAgainstAmalgam http://ig-umwelt-zahnmedizin.de/mund-auf-gegen-amalgam/

For further information, please contact:
Elena Lymberidi-Settimo,
Project Manager ‘Zero Mercury Campaign’,
European Environmental Bureau,
0032 (0)2 289 1301
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Ian Carey
Communications Manager
European Environmental Bureau
0032 (0)2 289 1309
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Philippe Vandendaele
Chemicals Policy Advisor
Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) Europe
 0032 (0) 2503 0481
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Aidan Long
Press & Communications Officer
HCWH Europe
0032 (0) 2503 0481 / 0032 (0)465 100 940
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Johanna Hausmann
Project Management Chemicals and Health
Women Engage for a Common Future
tel +49 173 8010040
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Florian Schulze
Project Manager
IG Umwelt Zahn Medizin
0049(0)1781812729 or 0049(0)3055232755
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Charlie Brown
World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry
Attorney and President
Washington, USA,
[1] 202 544 6333,
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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)