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.

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

June 25th, 2014

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 | No Comments »

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

March 12th, 2014

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  In 2004, FDA acknowledged MeHg exposure risks when it issued an online advisory based on now outdated research.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 | No Comments »

NGO Seminar on MeHg Exposure from Fish

December 10th, 2013

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 | No Comments »

Toxic Trade Highlighted as a Priority Issue for Asia During Mercury Treaty Adoption

October 10th, 2013

As world governments bask in the celebration prepared by the government of Japan for the newly minted Minamata Convention on Mercury, ZMWG is calling on all countries – including Japan – to help stem the rise of Asia as the world’s mercury trading hub. “Traders are increasingly circumventing the export bans imposed by the EU and US by seeking safe havens, particularly in Asia,” said Richard Gutierrez, director of Ban Toxics in the Philippines.   Under the Minamata Convention, the trade in mercury will be controlled, largely through an informed consent procedure.  However, 50 countries will need to ratify the treaty before it comes into legal force.  “While there are alternatives to mercury and controls for major sources, there is no alternative to international cooperation,” said Michael Bender, ZMWG Coordinator. ”Let’s turn these good intentions into meaningful action on the ground so that developing countries don’t bear the brunt of toxic trade.”

Category: Blogroll, Developing World, Environmental Justice, Press Releases, UNEP | No Comments »

In advance of mercury treaty adoption, ZMWG hair ’snapshot’ shows worldwide exposure

October 4th, 2013

A new ZMWG report highlights the importance of the new treaty being ratified as soon as possible to reduce global pollution and exposure to mercury. The treaty will be signed next week near Minamata, where a major mercury poisoning incident was first discovered. NGOs from 9 countries participated in the study in order to ascertain mercury hair levels in women.  Nearly one-quarter (24%) of the samples exceeded the widely recognized U.S. EPA guideline of 1 μg/g.  In 4 countries, a high percentage exceeded the threshold, specifically:  71% in Japan; 64% in Spain; 36% in Mauritius; and 23% in Côte d’Ivoire. “The results indicate that the mercury hair levels in Japanese women were significantly higher than the other countries tested,” said Dr. Takashi Yorifuji, Associate Professor at Okayama University Graduate School of Environmental and Life Science, Japan. “Risk of adverse health effects in children following in utero methylmercury exposures is well documented and rises as maternal exposure increases.”

Category: Developing World, Environmental Justice, Events, Fish and Seafood, International, Mercury Exposure, Mercury Facts, Press Releases, Reports, UNEP | No Comments »

Obama urged to update consumer advisory on methlymercury in fish

August 18th, 2013

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 | No Comments »

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

June 6th, 2013

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,”
and
•    “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 | No Comments »

CA issues precedent setting rules for collecting theromostats

May 23rd, 2013

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 | No Comments »

Dentsply given ‘Wake-up’ Call by 23 Groups: Phase Out Mercury Fillings

May 22nd, 2013

At the annual meeting of the #2 U.S. amalgam manufacturer, a broad-based coalition of community, faith-based, and environmental groups called on Dentsply International to cease making amalgam.    The speakers unveiled a letter from 23 organizations from Pennsylvania, around the nation, and from six continents — including several religious orders — calling for Dentsply to set a timetable to phase-out mercury amalgam, according to news reports. Shareholders also similarly weighed in.

Category: Dental Mercury, Developing World, International, Press Releases | No Comments »

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

May 15th, 2013

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:  http://mercuryfactsandfish.org/.

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