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Press Release

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 Mercury ban in teeth of children adn pregnant women, NGOS call for full implementation
Mercury ban in teeth of children adn pregnant women, NGOS call for full implementation PDF Print
Friday, 29 June 2018 15:18

EEB and WAMFD Press Release:

Mercury ban in teeth of children and pregnant women, NGOs call for full implementation

A ban on the use of mercury in the dental fillings of children and pregnant women comes into effect on July 1 and NGOs are calling on European states to implement it fully.

Consumer and environmental groups are calling on EU Member States to require dentists to immediately adhere to a new EU-wide regulation banning placement of mercury dental fillings in children as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin that pollutes the environment, gets taken up the food chain and can damage the nervous, renal and cardiovascular systems. This ban aims to protect human health at an early stage of development. Mercury is used heavily in dentistry but it is easily replaceable.
 

“With the ban to protect Europe’s children starting today, we call on Europe’s dentists to adhere to it now,” says Charlie Brown, president of the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry.  “21st century dentistry is mercury-free dentistry and Europe’s children deserve nothing less.”


Last year, the European Union adopted a new mercury regulation including a dental amalgam ban for the first teeth of children under the age of 15 and for pregnant and breastfeeding women beginning 1 July 2018. The regulation allows dentists to use dental amalgam in cases where they feel there is a medical need but this should only account for a very small proportion of cases. Dental amalgam is the metallic substance used by dentists to fill gaps in decaying teeth and it is 50% mercury.

The new rules also require Member States to establish a national plan by July 1 2019 to phase down dental amalgam use.  In addition, the regulation requires the European Commission to assess by mid 2020 the feasibility of phasing out dental amalgam use entirely.
 

“The EU decision for a partial amalgam ban for vulnerable populations clearly acknowledges the environmental danger from mercury in dentistry” says Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Project Manager “Zero Mercury Campaign” at the European Environment Bureau. “The EC and EU Member States need to ensure that dentists apply the ban straight away, and verify whether the use of exemption is really necessary. EU authorities should further ensure that citizens are made aware of these provisions.”


Given that dental amalgam is 50% mercury, the Minamata Convention on Mercury requires each participating nation to reduce its use.  According to the new EU regulation:
 

“The use of mercury in dental amalgam is the largest use of mercury in the Union and a significant source of pollution.  The use of dental amalgam should therefore be phased down in accordance with the Convention and with national plans based, in particular, upon the measures listed in Part II of Annex A of the Convention. […]  Furthermore, particular preventive health protection measures should be taken for vulnerable members of the population, such as children and pregnant or breastfeeding women.”


The regulation also states that: “The training of dentistry students and dental practitioners on the use of mercury-free alternatives, in particular for vulnerable populations such as children and pregnant or breastfeeding women [… ] can help in reducing the use of mercury.”

Notes to the editor:

EU Regulation 2017/852 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2017 on mercury, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1102/2008. Official Journal of the European Union L 137/1 (English). 24 May 2017.  https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/687ef0ed-4045-11e7-a9b0-01aa75ed71a1/language-en

EEB-WAMFD-Memo on Technical advantages of mercury free dentistry, May 2016

Minamata Convention on Mercury: http://mercuryconvention.org/

 

For more information contact:

Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Project Manager 'Zero Mercury Campaign', European Environmental Bureau, 0032 (0)2 289 1301,  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 , www. Zeromercury.org

Ian Carey, Communications Manager, European Environmental Bureau, 0032 (0)2 289 1309,  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 , www.eeb.org

Charlie Brown, Attorney and President, World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, +1 202 544 6333, 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