The European Parliament recently adopted a ban on the export of mercury from the EU, one of the world’s biggest mercury exporters, and ensuring its safe storage, beginning in March 2011. In addition to metallic mercury, the ban covers other compounds such cinnabar ore, mercury chloride and oxide. The regulation requires the storage of mercury either in salt mines, in deep, underground, hard rock formations, or in above-ground facilities. “Although we would have liked to see a more robust regulation, this agreement between the two institutions is a very good step towards locking down mercury in the EU,” said Elena Lymberidi Settimo, EEB’s Project Coordinator of the Zero Mercury Campaign (see press release).
The EU Commission is required to submit by 2010 a report on any technological advances in the solidification of mercury and, if appropriate, a proposal for revision of the directive not later than 15. March 2013. In addition, the Commission must report by 2010 if there is a need for an import ban on mercury and if the export ban should be extended to other compounds, mixtures and products containing mercury, in particular thermometers, barometers and sphygmomanometers. More information on the EU mercury export ban.