Global NGO’s ask the World Health Organization (WHO) to consider the health and environmental impact from continued use of dental mercury fillings. Because effective global control of mercury releases from dental mercury would be extraordinarily difficult and inordinately expensive, they urge the WHO to recommend the use of viable mercury-free alternatives to all countries. The letter to the WHO was signed by over 70 non-governmental environmental and health organizations from around the world.
Michael Bender, on behalf of Mercury Policy Project and Zero Mercury Working Group, presented at the World Health Organization’s Dental Restoration Materials Meeting. He discussed the role of UNEP Mercury Storage-Supply Partnership in reducing dental mercury exposure worldwide. Bender pointed out that reducing the supply, demand, and trade of mercury is more effective than trying to control releases.
The EPA’s new report, National Study of Chemical Residues in Lake Fish Tissue, found mercury in all fish from 500 lakes sampled randomly across the continental U.S. The data also showed mercury concentrations in game fish exceed EPA’s human health screening levels at 49% of the lakes nationwide. The EPA is taking steps to limit mercury emissions from power plants within the United States. However, Mercury Policy Project’s director Michael Bender points out, “Two-thirds of the mercury that’s rained on Vermont and the U.S. comes from Asia and elsewhere outside the U.S.” Therefore, the international pollution control treaty in the works could have an even greater impact on the U.S.
NECN reports Vermont Lakes Show Effects of Pollution.
General Motors finally caved in to pressure from public-interest groups, government officials and state agencies and has agreed to cover the costs of keeping mercury from its cars out of the atmosphere. That’s the good news: the environmental community and our recycling industry and policymaker allies have managed to back GM down on an issue that is crucial to public health.
But here’s the bad news: GM has yet to make this decision permanent – and step back from the entire idea that it can declare “environmental bankruptcy.” Without GM’s support, the ELVS mercury switch recycling program will collapse, potentially sending tons of mercury into the environment, particularly now that the nation’s junk yards are stretched to capacity dealing with the influx of end-of-life vehicles from the cash-for-clunkers program. MPP fully intends to keep the pressure on the new GM to take long-term responsibility for its environmental legacy. See the New York Times for additional details.