Mercury Policy Project

Promoting policies to eliminate mercury use and reduce mercury exposure

The Mercury Policy Project (MPP) works to promote policies to eliminate mercury uses, reduce the export and trafficking of mercury, and significantly reduce mercury exposures at the local, national, and international levels. We strive to work harmoniously with other groups and individuals who have similar goals and interests.

‘Turning up the Heat II’ Report Shows Honeywell Shirking Responsibility

April 2nd, 2013

A manufacturer-run program for collecting mercury thermostats is failing to keep the toxic heavy metal out of the the environment, according to a new report, Turning Up the HeatII , released today.  The report estimates that the industry recycling program has captured only 8% of mercury thermostats over the past decade, resulting in over 50 tons of mercury into the environment.  “Companies that profited from the sale of mercury thermostats are shirking their responsibilities,” said MPP Bender in a statement that received extensive media coverage.

Category: Academic Projects, Blogroll, Dental Mercury, Developing World, Emissions, Mercury Exposure, Press Releases, Reports, UNEP, US | No Comments »

Mercury treaty rises but weak emissions regime undercuts progress

January 19th, 2013

After four years of deliberation, a new global regime rises today that will govern toxic mercury worldwide.  “Adoption of a global legal agreement on mercury is a major accomplishment,” said Michael T. Bender, co-coordinator of the Zero Mercury Working Group in an overview and a press release. “Yet the instrument is hampered by weak controls on mercury emissions from major sources like coal-fired power plants.” For more details, see  a short summary of the key articles of the treaty. A more extensive summary explains more details along with some media coverage.

Category: Blogroll, Dental Mercury, Developing World, Fish and Seafood, International, Press Releases, Reports, UNEP | No Comments »

New UN treaty text on phasing down amalgam globally

January 18th, 2013

While no dental amalgam phase out date has been set,  during the negotiations that led to the new treaty on mercury, article 6 on products in Annex C  Part  II, requires countries to take steps to phase down dental mercury globally. “This is the beginning of the end of dental amalgam globally,” said Michael T. Bender, MPP director, in a press release in English and Francais, which received international coverage. “We applaud the leadership role the US played in jump-starting support for a phase down in 2011 along with the concrete phase out activities in the Nordic countries, Switzerland and Japan in phasing out amalgam.”

Category: Dental Mercury, Press Releases, UNEP, US | No Comments »

Ahead of UN treaty negotiation, reports show greater mercury risks than earlier thought

December 4th, 2012

The Zero Mercury Working Group, in cooperation with scientists from the Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) and with other prominent scientists, organized a global webinar to release new findings that demonstrate extensive mercury contamination and summarize studies that show health effects from methylmercury occurring below the level that was considered “safe” just a few years ago. This comes ahead of the final round of United Nations negotiations, scheduled in January 2013, for a global mercury treaty. Slides from the webinar presentations are now available  along with the reports: BRI report; Dr. Groth’s report for ZMWG and ZMWG summary/recommendations.

Category: Events, Fish and Seafood, International, Mercury Exposure, Press Releases, Reports, UNEP | No Comments »

Tuna surprise: Hidden risk in school lunches

September 19th, 2012

Over the past decade, awareness about the risks of mercury in certain fish has increased and pregnant women in particular have been alerted to shop carefully and a recent study indicates that over one-third of American’s mercury exposure is from tuna.  But what about the risks from fish children consume at school?  In it’s 2011 Annual Report to the Governor, Legislature and Citizens of the State of Vermont, the state mercury advisory committee recommended:  “….collaboration between the Vermont Department of Health and the Department of Education to communicate with Vermont schools and raise awareness among faculty, staff, and parents about the methyl mercury exposure risk to young children of consuming excessive amounts of tuna fish in school lunch programs,” see:  page 2 and 5 of the 2011 report. To further investigate this, MPP announced today in a statement that it is co-releasing with other groups a first ever report on testing for mercury in tuna sold to schools,  “Tuna Surprise,” which received extensive  media coverage.

Category: Fish and Seafood, International, Mercury Exposure, Mercury Facts, Press Releases, Reports, US | No Comments »

New EU study recommends dental amalgam phase out in five years

July 23rd, 2012

The EEB and MPP welcomed a new study for the European Commission, which recommends phasing out dental amalgam use in five years.  The BIOS report noted that mercury-free fillings appear more expensive than amalgam because the negative external costs associated with management of amalgam are not factored in.   MPP director Bender discussed the EU study in a recent youtube interview, and also said that “When factoring in external costs to society, the average price of an amalgam would be 15% higher than that of a composite,” referencing a recent study on the The Real Cost of Dental Mercury.

Category: Dental Mercury, EU, International, Press Releases, Reports | No Comments »

US, EU, Canada urged to support health provision in mercury treaty

July 6th, 2012

Joined by the EU, Canada and other developed countries, the U.S. opposed a separate health provision during the fourth (of five) mercury treaty negotiation earlier this week in Punta del Este, Uruguay.  “This is an example of north–south double standard over whether health issues will be addressed equitably,” stated Michael Bender , MPP director, who provided a statement on behalf of the Zero Mercury Working Group during the negotiation. “Mercury is a basic human rights issue. Health strategies to address reducing exposure to mercury must be included in this treaty.”

Category: Academic Projects, Blogroll, Dental Mercury, Developing World, Environmental Justice, Fish and Seafood, International, Press Releases, UNEP, US | No Comments »

Treaty time running out to address the global mercury crisis

July 2nd, 2012

Governments meeting at the 4th of 5 negotiations are running out of time to address key issues before finalizing a legally binding treaty on mercury. Most major issues remain unresolved and the Zero Mercury Working Group expressed concern over the lack of progress at such a late stage. “There has been no substantial progress on the biggest sources of mercury pollution nor in reconciling the different positions of governments,” said Michael Bender, ZMWG co-coordinator.  Issues as straightforward as the phase out of mercury in products and processes and supply and trade did not progress any better, according to Bender. Barely visible in the draft treaty text are core requirements for the environmentally sound management of mercury, which are contingent on future decisions, and the issue of contaminated sites has only been minimally addressed.

Category: Blogroll, Dental Mercury, Developing World, Fish and Seafood, International, Press Releases, UNEP | No Comments »

Global Mercury Treaty on the Horizon

June 12th, 2012

The fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to prepare a global legally binding instrument on Mercury (INC4) will be held in Punta del Este, Uruguay, from 27 June to 2 July 2012.  The Zero Mercury Working Group has prepared its views on the INC 4 draft_treaty text.  Noting that mercury gets transported great distances through the air and in trade, NGOs are urging governments to cut mercury off at the source by adopting strong treaty provisions.

Category: Developing World, Environmental Justice, Exports, International, UNEP | No Comments »

Real Cost of Dental Mercury

April 15th, 2012

Dental mercury fillings pollute the environment, contaminate fish and are far more costly for taxpayers than the alternative tooth-colored material, according to an economics report released by MPP and a broad coalition of health, consumer and environmental groups. The study was prepared by Brussels-based Concorde East/West Sprl and details how society pays for dental mercury through additional pollution control costs, deterioration of public resources, and the health effects associated with mercury contamination. The report shows that when the real cost to taxpayers and the environment is considered, amalgam is significantly more costly than composite as a filling material, by at least $41 more per filling, as reflected in the International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology brochure.

Category: Dental Mercury, EU, Emissions, International, Mercury Exposure, Mercury Facts, Mercury Products, Press Releases, Reports | No Comments »