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EU mercury strategy

The Community Strategy concerning Mercury adopted in 2005 includes a comprehensive plan aimed at addressing mercury use and pollution:

The Strategy lists 20 actions seeking, in particular, to reduce mercury emissions, to cut mercury supply and demand and to protect people against exposure. This has resulted in the enhancement of Union law on mercury, including, inter alia:

  • restrictions on the inclusion of mercury or mercury compounds in a number of products including measuring devices (e.g. thermometers, sphygmomanometers, barometers), as well as batteries, electrical and electronic equipment etc.;
  • a ban on exports of mercury from the EU that came into force in 2011;
  • new rules on the safe storage of mercury;
  • the inclusion of provisions on mercury emissions¬† in EU legislation, in particular in BAT Conclusions ¬†adopted under the Industrial Emissions Directive.

On 7 December 2010 the Commission adopted a Communication on the review of the Community Strategy concerning Mercury.

Given that a large share of mercury emissions occurring in third countries is deposited onto the Union territory and contaminates seafood and fish resources consumed by EU citizens, domestic policies alone are not sufficient to ensure an adequate protection of human health and of the environment within the Union. Accordingly, the Strategy focuses seven of its actions on the need to support and promote international action, including multilateral negotiations on the conclusion of a legally-binding Convention on mercury.