EC proposes to revise the Mercury Regulation to protect citizens and the environment

The European Commission has adopted Proposal to revise the Mercury Regulation to protect EU citizens and the environment from toxic mercury. The amendment would completely ban the use of dental amalgam, which currently uses 40 tonnes of mercury per year in the EU. It will also ban the manufacture and export of certain products containing mercury, such as lamps. The Commission’s proposal was adopted in parallel with a delegated act aligning the revision of the Mercury Regulation with the decisions taken by the Fourth Conference of the Parties (COP4) of the Minamata Convention.

Revised Mercury Regulation:

The revised Mercury Regulation targets the last remaining intentional uses of mercury in a range of products in the EU, in line with the commitments set out in the EU’s Zero Pollution programme. It lays down rules that put the EU firmly on the path to becoming the first mercury-free economy To:
• Introducing complete elimination of the use of dental amalgam as of January 1, 2025 in light of viable mercury-free alternatives that would worsen human health. impact and environmental pressure;
Ban on the production and export of dental amalgams from the EU as of January 1, 2025;
Ban on production and export of six additional mercury-containing lamps from January 1, 2026 and from January 1, 2028 (depending on lamp type).

delegated act:

Delegated act under the Mercury Ordinance transposes decisions taken at the Fourth COP (2022) of the Minamata Convention into EU law. by introducing a ban on the production, import and export of eight additional mercury-containing products, including mercury-containing lamps and lamps. non-electric equipment. The Minamata Convention is the main international legal framework aimed at protecting human health and the environment from anthropogenic and mercury releases to air, water and land. Like the Mercury Regulation, it covers the entire life cycle of mercury, from primary mercury mining to mercury waste disposal.

The revised Mercury Regulation will now be subject to the approval of the European Parliament and the Council under the normal legislative procedure. The delegated act is submitted to the European Parliament and the Council for consideration.

Mercury is a highly toxic chemical It poses a threat to human health and the environment. When released into the environment, it enters the food chain, where it accumulates (mainly in fish). Exposure to high levels of mercury can damage the brain, lungs, kidneys, and immune system.

It has historically been used in many applications including gold mining, batteries, fluorescent lighting, thermometers and barometers. Over the past twenty years, the EU has developed a comprehensive body of legislation, in particular the Mercury Regulation, which protects human health and the environment from anthropogenic and mercury releases and thus covers the entire life cycle of mercury from primary mercury mining. before the final disposal of mercury waste. This includes measures for trade in mercury-containing products and mercury pollution.

The Minamata Convention entered into force on 16 August 2017 and has been ratified by the European Union and 143 countries to date. including all EU member states. The fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Mercury Convention (COP5) will be held in Geneva, Switzerland from 30 October to 3 November 2023.

“Some of us still fondly remember chasing silver-mercury bullets when a mercury-filled thermometer broke. Thanks to EU legislation, such games are a thing of the past, and today we offer the latest deliberate ways to use mercury to tie these broken thermometers together. “In the history recycling park,” says Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries.

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