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 In 2004, FDA acknowledged MeHg exposure risks when it issued an online advisory based on now outdated research.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.
NGOs from around the world, including ZMWG, International Pops Elimination Network and Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives , sent a letter UNEP demontrating our solidarity in strong opposition to policies promoting incineration of mercury. The letter, spearheaded by MPP, raises several concerns related to the direction the UNEP global mercury waste partnership is going, appearing to promote waste combustion as a viable end-of-life strategy for mercury and also preempt future decisions of the Interngovernmental Negotiation Committee deliberations leading to the development of a global treaty on mercury.
Environmental NGOs welcome the new European Commission’s decision to reduce the maximum mercury content in certain energy efficient lamps.“This decision now firmly establishes a global precedent that others should follow,” said MPP director Michael Bender. “The new RoHS mercury standards promise to transform the lighting industry on a global scale,” said Alicia Culver, Director of the Responsible Purchasing Network and Co-Coordinator of the Green Lighting Campaign. “Workers will be better protected because these lower limits can generally only be reached by accurate and encapsulated (metered) dosing systems. Consumers will also face a lower health risk if a fluorescent lamp breaks in their home or office.” “Many more types of lamps will require a reduction in their mercury content and the limits are much lower for those covered before. We are particularly pleased with the lowest limit introduced (2.5 mg Hg/lamp) for commonly used compact fluorescent lamps, “ said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, EEB Zero Mercury Project Coordinator.
For more information, see:
Decision 2010/571, amending the Annex of the Directive on Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) in electrical and electronic equipment, 2002/95
, http://eurlex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2010:251:0028:0034:EN:PDF and corrigendum http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriSer/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2010:254:0048:0048:EN:PDF
Today, environmental groups applauded EPA’s announcement proposing a new rule requiring dentists to reduce mercury pollution. “Dentists are the largest polluter of mercury to wastewater,” said MPP director Bender in a statement . “We welcome EPA’s proposal to end the Bush-era midnight deal allowing dentists to pollute until they enacted voluntary pollution prevention initiatives – which never substantially materialized.” MPP also expressed its appreciation to Congressman Dennis Kucinich and staff for their efforts in hosting three hearings since 2007 to draw attention to the importance of the issue, including their latest press release.
On behalf of the Zero Mercury Working Group, MPP’s director was selected today to become an expert member of UNEP’s Consumer, Environmental Protection and Recycling Task Force of its Efficient Lighting for Developing and Emerging Countries initiative, or “en.lighten,” helping to shape the first global strategy to achieve market transformation towards efficient lighting worldwide, with specific consideration for environmentally sound approaches to deal with mercury. When completed in mid-2011, the Task Force recommendations will be featured in a Global Road Map on Energy Efficient Lighting with the aim of obtaining its endorsement among governments worldwide.
MPP worked extensively with Boston Common Asset Management, LLC, and other stakeholder representatives, in discussions with Dentsply, a major U.S. manufacturer of amalgam, in withdrawal of a stakeholder resolution, in return for Dentsply acknowledging that: 1) mercury from amalgam are released into the environment, 2) Dentsply offers alternatives to amalgam that dentists should consider using; 3) Dentsply will encourage dentist to reduce mercury releases; and 4) continue dialoguing to better understand amalgam impacts and then determine appropriate actions.
Environmentalists laud proposed Amendment 541 of the ENVI Committee report for providing targeted consumer safety labeling for methylmercury in fish for pregnant women and children in the European Union. Amendment 541 adds labeling of the mercury content in meat from large predatory fish or foodstuffs containing meat from these fish species. The amendment would read: “contains methylmercury- not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, women who might become pregnant, and children” and be added immediately after the list of ingredients. In absence of a list of ingredients, the statement would accompany the name of the food. The first reading vote on this amendment will be held next week.