EU Legislators Voted to get Rid of Needless Mercury

[Brussels 17 January 2024] EU lawmakers’ vote today in the first plenary week of the year confirms the European Parliament’s willingness to effectively put an end to toxic products like mercury dental amalgam by 2025.  

The European Parliament sent a strong signal to the EU today in the vote on the revised EU mercury regulation: toxic mercury products banned domestically should have no room in the global market. Members of the European Parliament further voted in favour of phasing out the manufacture and export of EU banned mercury-added lamps by 2025, putting an end to double standards. They also requested studies and further work on crematoria, mercury added compounds, as well as other remaining uses of mercury in the EU, as supported by the EEB [1].

Charline Cheuvart , EEB Mercury Policy Officer said:

“With today’s vote, it is obvious that legislators want to get rid of needless mercury. There is indeed no point in maintaining uses of mercury where it is no longer needed, or for which safer alternatives exist.”   

If Member States also decide to support the phase out of dental amalgam by 2025, we could avoid emitting 10 tonnes of mercury into the environment by 2030. This would also further help towards reducing mercury pollution of our heavily polluted European rivers and contribute towards reaching the objectives that align with other key water-related legislation.

On the other hand, phasing out mercury-added lamps by 2025 will bring significant gains in preventing additional mercury from entering the environment. It will also reduce future CO2 emissions, a rather crucial co-benefit when considering the very worrying direction that global warming is taking. This is thanks to the much more efficient mercury-free alternatives that exist.

The file is now in the hands of the Belgian presidency; we hope that progress is steady enough to ensure a timely completion of this file before the upcoming EU elections.

Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, EEB Policy Manager said:

“Strong EU leadership will encourage other countries to further reduce, and where possible eliminate, mercury use and trade, as well as engage in multilateral global agreements, which are clearly needed to significantly curtail mercury as a global pollutant. We hope EU Member States act accordingly.” 

We now turn to the Council and Member States and urge them to follow the same path [2].


Further reading  

Mercury is a well-known global pollutant and a severe neurotoxin, which can cause environmental harm and severely affect people’s health. Diffuse pollution remains a problem in Europe because of both historical and current emissions of mercury to the atmosphere. Mercury levels measured in biota continue to exceed environmental quality standards in almost all surface water bodies.

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Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash

EU Legislators Voted to get Rid of Needless Mercury
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