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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.



 

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Mercury Added Skin - Lightening Cream campaign PDF Print
Thursday, 15 November 2018 00:00

Mercury-Added Skin-Lightening Creams Campaign

The EEB, in collaboration with ZMWG, has  funding from the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) to develop a long term global NGO campaign.  The focus of the campaign is in support of national government efforts to ban the manufacture, import, export and use of mercury-added cosmetics (with mercury content of 1 part per million.) This effort is in line with the Minamata Convention provisions in general support of listed product bans. The campaign started in 2017 and will be continuing until 2020.

In the framework of the project, a ZMWG skin-lightening cream working group has been formed.

The toxic trade of often illegal mercury-added skin-lightening products is a global crisis expected to only worsen with skyrocketing demand, especially in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.i Consistent with other research, the new Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) study indicates that a significant percentage of skin-lightening creams sold worldwide contain dangerous levels of mercury. 

In 2017 and 2018, 338 skin-lightening creams from 22 countries were collected by seventeen of our non-governmental organization (NGO) partners from around the world and tested for mercury. 34 creams (10% of the samples) had mercury concentrations ranging from 93 - 16,353 parts per million (ppm). These levels significantly exceeded not only the legal standard established by countries that regulate these products, but also the provisions set forth in the Minamata Convention disallowing after 2020 the “manufacture, import or export” of cosmetics with a mercury content above 1 ppm.

REPORT - Mercury-Added Skin-Lightening Creams: Available, inexpensive and toxic

Executive Summary - ENFR,  ES

 

See below the creams found to contain more that 1 ppm of mercury

poster1poster2poster3

 

In a separate  exercise, the Mercury Policy Project, the Sierra Club and the European Environmental Bureau purchased skin lighteners from eBay and Amazon websites. The brands purchased included many previously identified as high mercury by New York City, the state of Minnesota, the European Union, Singapore, UAE, the Philippines and many other national governments. Nineteen products had illegal mercury levels, typically more than 10,000 times higher than the legal threshold of 1ppm.

Over 50 civil society groups from more than 20 countries sent letters today to Amazon and eBay, calling on them to stop marketing illegal mercury-based skin lightening creams. In their letters, the groups are calling on Amazon and eBay to among others to ensure the products they sell comply with government regulations, develop and monitor lists of toxic skin lighteners and require prior sale approval for those to be sold.

Letter sent to Amazon 

Letter sent to eBay

Skin-lightening creams on government detention lists, purchased from internet and lab tested

creams1creams2

EEB/ZMWG Press release 15 November 2018

see also releases in the US  and Bangladesh

https://www.sierraclub.org/press-releases/2018/11/groups-tell-amazon-ebay-stop-toxic-trade-keep-toxic-cosmetics-market

 https://www.sierraclub.org/articles/2018/11/call-action-internet-sellers-must-stop-toxic-trade

 https://www.ewg.org/news-and-analysis/2018/11/dangerous-levels-mercury-found-skin-creams-purchased-amazon-ebay

Bangladesh PR by ESDO