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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 Time to end use of mercury-based blood pressure devices
Time to end use of mercury-based blood pressure devices PDF Print
Tuesday, 27 October 2009 01:00
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[BRUSSELS, October 27th , 2009] - European environmental and health organisations today reaffirm their demand for the rapid phase-out of mercury-based blood pressure devices used in clinical settings, and ask the EU act on the findings in a recently published European Commission report. These groups have been campaigning for many years to end the use of dangerous mercury substances in hospitals and other settings.

The report, released by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Consumers, confirms that mercury sphygmomanometers are not necessary in healthcare, routine clinical practice or special cases. The report also finds that mercury-based sphygmomanometers are "not essential" for calibration. Therefore, due to the acute toxic hazard to healthcare workers and chronic hazard to society, these devices have no place in clinical care.

“These findings are a significant step forward”, said Anja Leetz, Executive Director of Health Care Without Harm Europe, “based on this report, the EU should move immediately to mandate the replacement of mercury-based blood pressure devices used for clinical purposes across Europe.”

The report clarified that mercury devices will be required only for validation purposes since all protocols are mercury-based, for the time being. These too should be phased out as soon as alternative standards can be validated.

“With the world’s governments poised to negotiate a global treaty to phase­out mercury, the EU can show global leadership by mandating the substitution of mercury sphygmomanometers with safe, accurate alternatives,” said Elena Lymberidi–Settimo of the European Environmental Bureau.

The groups are now calling on the EU to assist in the development of a new validation protocol based on mercury free blood pressure gauges.


The report can be found at: http://ec.europa.eu/health/phrisk/committees/04scenihr/docs/scenihro 025. pdf

About Mercury: Mercury is a potent neurotoxin, a global priority pollutant and a PBT – a persistent bioaccumulative and toxic chemical. Mercury is a neurotoxin, meaning that it damages the central nervous system. Exposure to it can adversely affect the brain, spinal cord, kidneys and liver. Mercury easily crosses the placenta, passing from mother to unborn child, where it can impair neurological development of the foetus.

About Mercury in Health Care: The breakage of mercury thermometers and blood pressure devices exposes patients and health care workers to environmental hazards, while also contributing to the global burden of mercury. The EU and several non-EU countries have already banned mercury thermometers. Several EU countries as well as more than a dozens states in the U.S. have also already successfully phase-out mercury blood pressure devices. The World Health Organization and HCWH are leading a global initiative to phase-out of mercury-based medical devices globally by 2017.

For further information please contact:

Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, EEB Zero Mercury Project Coordinator: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ;
Tel: +32 (0)2 289 1301

Anja Leetz, Executive Director Health Care Without Harm Europe, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Tel: +32 2 289 1043, Mob: +32 484 786 058