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New treaty’s entry into force set to curtail global mercury crisis, say NGOs

BRUSSELS - 16 AUGUST 2017
TODAY’S ENTRY INTO FORCE OF THE MINAMATA CONVENTION ESTABLISHES THE FIRST NEW MULTILATERAL ENVIRONMENTAL AGREEMENT IN OVER A DECADE.  THE ZERO MERCURY WORKING GROUP* HAS BEEN CALLING FOR A LEGALLY BINDING TREATY FOR OVER A DECADE AND WELCOMES THE NEW PROTOCOL.

“While there are alternatives to mercury, there are no alternatives to global cooperation,” said Michael Bender, coordinator of the Zero Mercury Working Group. “Mercury respects no boundaries and exposes people everywhere”
“Only a global pact can curtail this dangerous neurotoxin.”

In October 2013 the convention text was adopted and signed by 128 countries, but would not take legal effect until at least 50 countries had ratified it formally.  This milestone was reached in May of this year, and the convention enters into force today 16 August. 

“We are now on the right track,” said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Project Manager, European Environmental Bureau and ZMWG co- coordinator. 

“Over time, the Convention is expected to provide the necessary technical and financial resources to reduce the risk of exposure to mercury worldwide. Governments must therefore move swiftly towards efficient implementation of the Treaty’s provisions”.

The aim of the Convention is "to protect the human health and the environment” from mercury releases.

The treaty holds critical obligations for Parties to ban new primary mercury mines while phasing out existing ones and also includes a ban on many common products and processes using mercury, measures to control releases, and a requirement for national plans to reduce mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining.  In addition, it seeks to reduce trade, promote sound storage of mercury and its disposal, address contaminated sites and reduce exposure from 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.

The Minamata Convention joins 3 other UN conventions seeking to reduce impacts from chemicals and waste – the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

ENDS 

For more information, see:

http://www.mercuryconvention.org/Negotiations/COP1/tabid/5544/language/en-US/Default.aspx

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 " 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 "> 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

Notes to the editors:

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 and small children. 

*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.

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) is Europe's largest network of environmental citizens’ organisations, standing for environmental justice, sustainable development and participatory democracy. Our experts work on climate change, biodiversity, circular economy, air, water, soil, chemical pollution, as well as policies on industry, energy, agriculture, product design and waste prevention. We are also active on overarching issues as sustainable development, good governance, participatory democracy and the rule of law in Europe and beyond.

We have over 140 members in over 30 countries.

EC register for interest representatives: Identification number 06798511314-27
International non-profit association - Association internationale sans but lucratif (AISBL)

 
Home Events Event details

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

Date:
25.05.2007
Place:
Brussels
Category:
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

Speaker

8.30

Registration

 
  Moderator for the day: Willy de Backer , Euractiv  

9.00

Welcome

John Hontelez - Secretary General ,EEB

9.10

EC approach tackling the issue

Gernot Schnabl, European Commission, DG ENV

9.30

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

9.50

Dental Clinics Employment of Amalgam Separators, Best Management Practices

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

10.10

Requirements to Reduce Mercury Emissions from Crematoria

Colin Gillespie, Scottish Environment Protection Agency

10.30

Coffee break

 

11.00

Phase out of Mercury Amalgam for Health & Environmental Reasons

Petra Ekblom, Swedish Chemicals Agency KemI, Sweden

11.20

Norway's Policy on dental amalgams

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

11.40

Discussion with all morning speakers
Q & A

 

12.30

Lunch Break

 

13.45

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

Michael Bender , Mercury Policy Project

14.00

Occupational health concerns

Prof. Bjorn Hilt, St. Olavs University Hospital

14.20

Lifecycle of dental amalgam: public health concerns

Genon Jensen, Executive Director, HEAL

14.40

Coffee break

 

15.10

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

15.15

15.20

15.25

15.30

15.35

Discussion

  • 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

16.30

Summary of the day

Moderator

16.45

End of conference

 

Participants' list

Conference Report