Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin and exposure can cause serious health problems.
A public consultation was launched in Switzerland last year with proposed amendments to four ordinances. According to the FOEN website, the objective is “to ensure that recycled mercury in Switzerland is removed from the global market and stored using an environmentally sound method.”
Michael Bender, Director, Mercury Policy Project, USA said:
“Unfortunately, commercial interests are reportedly trying to convince the Swiss government to allow mercury exports dental amalgam, even though that use has been nearly phased out in Switzerland,”
“If Switzerland wants to be the flag bearer for the Convention, it needs to show exemplary leadership.”
Advocates point out that the Convention calls on Parties to phase down the use of dental amalgam, which Switzerland has already done.
Dr Shahriar Hossain, Senior Research Advisor, Environment and Social Development Organization-ESDO, Bangladesh said:
“We strongly urge Switzerland to reconsider implementing only a partial export ban,”
“Exporting mercury specifically for dental mercury use sends a contradictory message.”
Advocates say that it may be difficult to ensure that exported mercury will only go for intended uses and that any controls will not be circumvented for financial gain, or that mercury may change hands further down the chain. With the price of mercury doubling in the last year alone, financial incentives to circumvent any informal agreements or regulations have only increased.
The Swiss Federal Council’s decision is expected tomorrow Wednesday 25 October. ENDS