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Global Mercury treaty: it’s time for action on health

In early July, the European Union, Canada, USA and other high income countries opposed a separate health provision during the fourth (of five) negotiating meetings for a global mercury treaty in Uruguay. Latin American countries had proposed a separate article calling for health programs to identify and protect populations at risk, through the development and implementation of health-based guidelines to reduce mercury exposure. The global Mercury Convention is anticipated to be finally agreed in January 2013 at the fifth negotiation session in Geneva.

The Sustainable Development Policy Institute in Islamabad Pakistan is proposing a Motion to the IUCN World Congress 2012 (in month) that the global mercury treaty currently being negotiated be legally binding, and contain a number of specific features to protect health (for details, see the SPDI website). HEAL supports this Motion, as do many of our member organisations in their own right. This motion is available in English, French and Spanish from SPDI here. There is also an interview with Dr. Mahmood A.Khwaja, Senior Chemicals Advisor of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute about the issues related to mercury use, the solutions available and the negotiations for global mercury treaty from SPDI here.

HEAL has been calling decision makers to pursue a strong global mercury treaty for a long time. At the beginning of this year HEAL already sent a letter urging EU Environment ministers to phase out dental amalgam. This new motion strengthens HEALs call to reduce, phase out and eliminate the use of mercury.

Originally posted on 5 September 2012

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The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

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