**** LATEST NEWS! ****

22 September 2017

View this email in your browser

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 One in ten skin lighteners found to contain dangerous neurotoxin mercury, report finds
One in ten skin lighteners found to contain dangerous neurotoxin mercury, report finds PDF Print
Thursday, 15 November 2018 11:00

 

 EEB 2017_logo_Final                      zeromercury WG_logo

 

 One in ten skin lighteners found to contain dangerous neurotoxin mercury, report finds

A high percentage of skin lighteners sold worldwide contain dangerous levels of mercury, according to test results contained in a new report by the Zero Mercury Working Group.  

In 2017 and 2018, 338 skin-lightening creams from 22 countries were collected and tested for mercury.

Ten per cent of the creams (34 creams) had mercury concentrations vary many times higher than levels allowed under the international agreement to control mercury, the Minamata Convention. The levels found in the cosmetics ranged from just over 90 times to an incredible 16,000 times the allowed level post-2020.

Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin which builds up in the human body and cause serious damage to the skin, lungs, kidneys, digestive, immune and nervous systems.

Fifteen out of the twenty-two sampled countries have legislation or other requirements consistent with the Minamata convention provisions. Out of the 7 countries where high mercury samples were found, only 4 have legal requirements prohibiting creams with more than 1 ppm mercury content.

On the eve of the Second Meeting of the Minamata Convention of the Conference of the Parties in Geneva, Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Project Manager at the European Environmental Bureau and Zero Mercury Working Group International Coordinator said: “The exposure and toxic trade in illegal high mercury skin lighteners is a global crisis which is expected to only worsen with skyrocketing global demand. To combat this, it’s important for governments to quickly enact and enforce regulations and effectively warn consumers.”

Despite being identified on many government detention lists, recent testing indicates the wide prevalence of high mercury and illegal products indiscriminately sold on the internet.

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.

“Internet platforms Amazon and eBay must stop breaking the law with their toxic trade in illegal cosmetics,” said Michael Bender, director of the Mercury Policy Project.  “They have the responsibility and resources to prevent exposing their customers to toxic products.”

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.

Contacts:

Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , +32 2 2891301

Michael Bender, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , +1 802 223 9000

 

Notes to the editor:

  1. The Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG, www.zeromercury.org ) is an international coalition of over 100 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 ratification and implementation of the Minamata Convention  on Mercury.
  2. ZMWG Report- “Mercury Added Skin-lightening creams: available, inexpensive and toxic” 
  3. ZMWG Report’s executive summary in EN, FR, ES
  4. Letters to Amazon and eBay, and results of creams’ analysis.
  5. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Public Health Statement for Mercury (March 1999) (www.atsdr.cdc. gov/PHS/PHS.asp?id=112&tid=24).
  6. Minamata Convention on Mercury, http://www.mercuryconvention.org/
  7. http://www.who.int/ipcs/assessment/public_health/mercury_flyer.pdf