Mercury Policy Project

Promoting policies to eliminate mercury use and reduce mercury exposure

Archive for the 'US' Category

NGOs Call for CFL Phase Out; Urge retailers to follow IKEA’s lead in ending sales

November 4th, 2015 by michael

Environmental NGOs  are urging the European Commission (EC) to restrict sales of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) under the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive, showing how they can be feasibly replaced with lighting emitting diode (LED) lamps. “The time is ripe for an EC decision to take CFLs (<30W) off the shelves throughout the EU by 2018,” said EEB’s Elena Lymberidi-Settimo.  Since the US Energy Department’s lifecycle analysis shows that LEDs far surpass CFLs in efficiency and other environmental impacts, advocates are also calling for US retailers to follow IKEA’s lead in ending CFL sales. “LEDs are environmentally preferable to CFLs from a lifecycle perspective,” said Alicia Culver, RPN’s director.  “LEDs use less energy, last three times longer than CFLs.  They are a practical and affordable alternative for most general purpose lighting applications.”  Workers can be exposed to mercury when manufacturing, transporting, installing, recycling or disposing of CFLs and other fluorescent lamps.  Pregnant women and toddlers may be exposed above safe levels when CFLs are broken in rooms without ventilation. “LEDs don’t contain mercury and are becoming more cost competitive, especially when energy use and higher CFL disposal costs are factored in,” said MPP director Bender.

Category: EU, Green Lighting, International, Mercury Products, Press Releases, Reports, US | Comments Off

Sec Kerry Urged to Convince FDA to Conform with US Position & Minamata Convention

September 22nd, 2015 by michael

60 NGOs recently urged US Secretary of State John Kerry to convince FDA to conform with US policy to reduce amalgam use.  The groups assert that a 2009 FDA rule is impeding mercury reduction and contrary to the position taken by the U.S. during  negotiations:  “The United States supports further consideration of dental amalgam by the Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee such that the agreement is able to achieve the phase down, with the goal of eventual phase out by all Parties, of mercury amalgam upon the development and availability of affordable, viable alternatives.” However, FDA takes the opposite view, as articulated in its 2009 rule and unaltered since that time. “As explained in our letter, FDA is fundamentally at odds with the Convention’s provisions to “phase down the use of dental amalgam, ” as well as the U.S. Government’s position,” said MPP director Bender.  “The difference in approach reflects the Convention’s consideration of dental amalgam’s full life cycle and the lack of any environmental assessment by FDA.” According to the latest U.S. Geological Survey report, dental amalgam is now one of the largest consumer uses of mercury in the U.S. today.

Category: Dental Mercury, International, Mercury Facts, Mercury Products, Press Releases, Reports, UNEP, US | Comments Off

New FDA/EPA advice fails to protect women & children from methlymercury

June 25th, 2014 by michael

A new federal advisory promoting seafood fails to protect sensitive populations from methylmercury exposure, according to an analysis by Environmental Working Group and MPP.  “There’s something really ‘fishy’ about the agencies’ fixation on health benefit studies while  ignoring the latest science on methylmercury exposure,” said MPP Director Bender in a statement.

Category: Fish and Seafood, Mercury Exposure, Press Releases, Reports, US | Comments Off

FDA sued over its failure to effectively warn consumers about mercury risks from fish

March 12th, 2014 by michael

On behalf of CSPI and MPP, Earthjustice recently filed a lawsuit in federal court against FDA for failing to respond to our 2011 petition requesting the Agency to give consumers clear, accurate and accessible information about mercury in seafood (as recent press reports explain.)  The lawsuit seeks a court-ordered deadline since under its own regulations, FDA had 180 days to respond and its failure to do so violates federal law.  In 2004, FDA acknowledged MeHg exposure risks when it issued an online advisory based on now outdated research.  Several recent studies suggest adverse effects at exposure levels 10-fold lower than those considered acceptable a decade ago.

Category: Academic Projects, Blogroll, Dental Mercury, Developing World, EU, Emissions, Environmental Justice, Events, Exports, Fish and Seafood, Gold Mining, Green Lighting, Hg in skin cosmetics, International, Kid Stuff, Mercury & Climate, Mercury Exposure, Mercury Facts, Mercury Products, Mercury and Climate Change, Press Releases, Reports, Storage, UNEP, US, Uncategorized | Comments Off

NGO Seminar on MeHg Exposure from Fish

December 10th, 2013 by michael

A seminar on methylmercury exposure issues was hosted for over 20 public interest NGOs was held Dec.3rd at Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, D.C.,organized by Dr. Ned Groth and MPP Director Bender  (reporting.)   The meeting report is available here. During the morning, we were updated on recent research, including:  1) Recent Epidemiological Evidence and Evolving Perspectives on Benefits and Risks, by Ned Groth, PhD, Independent Consultant, (see also report); 2) Potential benefits and harm of fish consumption,By Emily Oken, MD, MPH, Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School, 3) Recent Advances in Databases on Mercury in Fish, by Tim Fitzgerald, PhD, Environmental Defense Fund. The afternoon session included presentations by federal agency officials: 1) Qualitative Modeling of Benefits and Risks and Implications for Risk Management for Mercury Exposure from Commercially-Caught Fish, by Philip Spiller, Senior Advisor, FDA/CFSAN, 2) Review and Update of the Reference Doses for inorganic Hg and methylmercury, by Samantha Jones, PhD,  Associate Director for Science, IRIS Program, US EPA. 3) Update of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, by Stephanie Goodwin, PhD,  Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, US DHHS.

Category: Academic Projects, Fish and Seafood, Mercury Exposure, Mercury Facts, Reports, US | Comments Off

Obama urged to update consumer advisory on methlymercury in fish

August 18th, 2013 by michael

Following a letter from 21 US Senators, an August 15th letter from scientists, MDs and NGOs  urged President Obama to instruct  federal agencies to update the  consumer advisory on methylmercury .  Our letter echoed the earlier Senators letter:“This is the third time a wide bipartisan group of Senators has written to you requesting your help removing roadblocks to finalizing the FDA advice to pregnant women on seafood consumption.  Pregnant women, physicians and medical professionals, however, are still waiting despite numerous commitments in 2011, 2012 and 2013 to finalize the FDA advisory.” Earlier this year, we sent a  similar letter to HHS Secretary Sebelius, but the response back from FDA was not promising.

Category: Fish and Seafood, Mercury Exposure, Mercury Facts, Press Releases, US | Comments Off

APHA Panel Rejects ADA-Backed Resolution ‘Preserving’ Dental Amalgam Use

June 6th, 2013 by michael

An American Public Health Association panel met last month to review policy proposals and soundly rejected one to “preserve” the use of dental amalgam.   The resolution was backed by the American Dental Association, who claimed that the proposal was a “recent policy decision” by the APHA .   The panel suggested that any revised resolution “…be reflective for support of eventual phase out of the use of dental amalgam” and presented comments from several APHA sections:
•    “The proposed policy statement presents biased and one-sided arguments” on environmental impacts,
•    “Recent studies verifying the benefits of mercury-free alternatives over amalgam (in terms of longevity, accessibility, and the environment) are neglected,”
•    “Scientific evidence, as well as updated data from the United Nations Environment Program and other reputable sources, indicates that amalgam is a significant source of mercury pollution and largely cannot be prevented except by source reduction,”
•    “The proposed resolution mischaracterizes its interaction with the Minamata Convention on Mercury that was recently negotiated by the United States and 139 other countries… In particular, the treaty endorsed a phase-down of the use of dental amalgam, which the resolution authors explicitly fail to endorse.”
Further, the submittal from the Environment section noted that “…the proposed resolution is plainly inconsistent with the Association’s comprehensive, precautionary approach to anthropogenic mercury use. ”

Category: Dental Mercury, Mercury Facts, Press Releases, UNEP, US | Comments Off

CA issues precedent setting rules for collecting theromostats

May 23rd, 2013 by michael

New California regulations require manufacturers  to ensure recycling of an increasing percentage of thermostats or risk facing an enforcement order which could require costly fixes, according to news sources.   “This is a watershed moment when it comes to this particular product and collection,” said David Lennett, senior attorney at the NRDC.  Laws in Illinois and Rhode Island require similar rulemakings during 2014,  Lennett blogged.

Category: Blogroll, Mercury Products, Press Releases, US | Comments Off

U.S. advisory on mercury in fish tied up at health department

May 15th, 2013 by michael

There was news coverage today of a letter sent last month by 40  scientists and NGOs, urging HHS Secretary Sebelius  to expedite release of an updated  consumer advisory.  “This policy update needs to be sent out for comment to ensure it’s in line with the latest science.” said MPP Director Bender.   Several months ago, Sebelius assured 22 US Senators that “…completing the updated advisory remains a priority for the Administration,” in response to an earlier letter from the senators to President Obama about the 2010 Dietary Guidelines.  Yet  scientists pointed out to Sebelius in 2011 how they were  flawed.  To separate the facts from the ‘fishy’ fables, see:

Category: Fish and Seafood, Mercury Exposure, Mercury Facts, Press Releases, US | Comments Off

Shareholders call on Danaher to Phase Out Dental Amalgam

May 7th, 2013 by michael

Members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, the Investor Environmental Health Network and shareholders in the Danaher Corporation today released an open letter to the Board of Directors, which MPP supported, questioning the company’s failure to address dental mercury risks.

Category: Dental Mercury, Mercury Exposure, Press Releases, US | Comments Off