Mercury and its compounds are highly toxic to humans, especially to the developing nervous system. They are also harmful to ecosystems and wildlife populations.
This is why the EEB set up the Zero Mercury Campaign in 2004, with the ultimate goal of achieving ‘zero’ emissions, demand and supply of mercury, from all controllable sources. The campaign aims to reduce mercury in the environment to a minimum both in the EU and globally.
While there is still some way to go before this goal is realised, progress has been made in recent years with the European institutions agreeing at the end of 2016 to beef up the EU’s mercury regulation. Not only is this good news for Europeans, but it also opened the way to the EU’s ratification of the global Minamata Convention on Mercury.
The deal set the way forward for a significant reduction in the use of dental amalgam and a ban dental amalgam fillings for children under 15 and for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
At global level, the Zero Mercury Working Group was born out of the Zero Mercury Campaign and has grown into an international coalition of almost a hundred public interest environmental and health NGOs from more than 50 countries The Zero Mercury Working Group’s main objective is to influence all significant policy developments to reduce mercury emissions and human exposure to mercury and is active at the UN and around the world to achieve this.
By engaging with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and international mercury meetings, the EEB and the Zero Mercury Working Group have supported the drafting, adoption and implementation of the Minamata Convention. This global agreement is designed to protect human health and the environment from the dangerous effects of Mercury.
Chemical groups of major public concern
need to ratify before the Minamata convention enters into force (currently 38 have ratified)