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22 September 2017

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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:




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 Event details

EEB-HEAL-ZMWG Conference "Dental Sector as a source of mercury contamination"

Events organized by EEB/ZMWG on mercury

Additional Information

EEB- HEAL-ZMWG Conference - “Dental Sector as a Source of Mercury Contamination”

Friday 25 May 2007
Brussels, Belgium
VENUE: Goethe Institut, rue Belliard 58, 1040, Brussels, Belgium
(how to reach the venue, Brussels Metro map)

   Invitation, Registration form,
   NGO Invitation, NGO Registration form

The conference is open to the public and will take place in English.

Draft agenda (as per 24/5/07)

Time schedule

Title of presentation




  Moderator for the day: Willy de Backer , Euractiv  



John Hontelez - Secretary General ,EEB


EC approach tackling the issue

Gernot Schnabl, European Commission, DG ENV


Overview: Mercury Releases from Amalgam to the Environment: Air, Water and SoilREPORT : Mercury in Dental Use: Environmental Implications for the European Union  and Corrigenda
[May 2007]

Peter Maxson, Director, Concorde East/West sprl


Dental Clinics Employment of Amalgam Separators, Best Management Practices

Lars Hylander , Ass. Professor, Uppsala University, Department of Earth Sciences, Air, Water and Landscape Science.-


Requirements to Reduce Mercury Emissions from Crematoria

Colin Gillespie, Scottish Environment Protection Agency


Coffee break



Phase out of Mercury Amalgam for Health & Environmental Reasons

Petra Ekblom, Swedish Chemicals Agency KemI, Sweden


Norway's Policy on dental amalgams

Liljan Smith Aandahl, Department for Health and Social affairs, Norway


Discussion with all morning speakers
Q & A



Lunch Break



Introduction Movie - Norwegian Television Broadcasting November 2005 “Burning Point” Documentary on Dental Assistants, Entitled: “Mercury Women” with English subtitles

Michael Bender , Mercury Policy Project


Occupational health concerns

Prof. Bjorn Hilt, St. Olavs University Hospital


Lifecycle of dental amalgam: public health concerns

Genon Jensen, Executive Director, HEAL


Coffee break



Panel Discussion: Mercury in dental amalgams: should we still be using it?







  • Professor Gottfried Schmalz, The Council of European Dentists
  • Dr. Med. Joachim Mutter, Institute of Environmental Medicine and hospital of Epidemiology at the University Medical Center Freiburg
  • Dr. Graeme Munro-Hall, International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology
  • Jean Huss, AKUT – patient group representing environmentally sensitive patients


Summary of the day



End of conference


Participants' list

Conference Report