Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, welcomed this week’s vote to tighten EU mercury controls agreed between EU country governments and the European Parliament.
Ms. Childers is a member of the Environment and Public Health Committee in the European Parliament, which prepared the legislative review with national governments.
Commenting on the outcome of the plenary vote in Strasbourg, Ms. Childers said:
“The EU legislation we overwhelmingly voted through this week brings Europe into line with a United Nations convention on mercury pollution.
“Mercury is not only highly toxic but its emissions also spread far and wide through air and water, respecting no borders and lingering indefinitely in the environment.
“Only half of the mercury found in Europe actually comes from emissions generated here.
“This required action at a global scale to control pollution from what the World Health Organisation ranks as one of the top 10 most dangerous chemicals for human health.
“For most of us, exposure actually comes from eating seafood, with mercury levels rising up fast in animals up in the food chain.
“While it could have been more ambitious, this new regime adds important new measures to the EUs existing export ban.
“These include import and manufacturing bans on mercury itself and products containing it above certain levels.
“From next year onwards, use of mercury in new manufacturing processes will be banned, with exceptions allowed only if the products can bring significant gains to health and the environment, in the absence of practicable alternatives.
“The use of mercury in dental amalgam is also further restricted, and proper disposal required in all dental practices, in line with requirements for correct permanent storage of overall mercury waste.”