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[greenyes] Swedish agency proposes prohibitions on the use of mercury

I thought you might like to see the news release from the web page of the
Swedish Chemicals Inspectorate, :


2004-06-30 The Swedish Chemicals Inspectorate (KemI) is proposing: Ban
mercury in Sweden.

The Swedish Chemicals Inspectorate is proposing that the present ban on
mercury in certain articles be extended to a general ban. This means that
amalgam and chemicals used in analyses, for instance, would be included.

Mercury is one of the most hazardous environmental toxins and poses a threat
to both the environment and human health, says Ethel Forsberg,
Director-General of KemI. Sweden has until now been successful in efforts to
phase out mercury. We have come as far as possible on a national basis,
should the proposal be adopted.

On 30 June, KemI presented the report Mercury - government commission report
on a general, national ban.

The proposal implies a ban on sale of mercury or articles containing mercury
on the Swedish market, and on export of mercury and articles containing
mercury out of Sweden. The Inspectorate is also proposing a ban on export of
waste containing mercury.

This means that mercury and mercury compounds must not be used. Articles
containing mercury already on the market or in use today may continue to be
used. Time-limited exemptions are proposed for certain applications to
provide time for development of and transition to alternatives.

KemI is of the opinion that there are strong reasons for banning amalgam on
the basis of environmental concern. There are other tooth-filling materials
that fulfil the requirements set by the ordinary dental service. In
exceptional cases, amalgam might have to be used in hospital dental
treatment of adult patients. KemI and the National Board of Health and
Welfare are therefore proposing such an exemption valid until 31 December

Chemicals used in analyses
Mercury compounds are used in different types of analyses. Their use can be
phased out, provided that a transitional period is given for developing and
testing alternative methods. KemI is therefore proposing time-limited
exemptions from the ban covering, for instance, analyses within the forest
industry, the pharmaceutical industry, to make medical diagnoses and within

Chlor-alkali production
The chlor-alkali industry, manufacturing chlorine and lye, uses large
amounts of mercury. KemI is proposing that the use is to cease not later
than 31 December 2009. This is in line with EC directives and international

It is very difficult to implement national rules that go further than EC
legislation in the case of batteries, light sources and vehicles, for
instance, and these are thus exempt from the ban.

When most of the exemptions have expired within 3-5 years, KemI estimates
that a ban would reduce the addition of new mercury in chemical products and
articles from approximately 340 kg a year (2003) to about 190 kg a year.
Amalgam represents the largest reduction. Amalgam is currently the largest
individual source of mercury content in the sludge of sewage treatment

The EC must be notified of any new national regulations on mercury, and the
regulations must be accepted by the EC before they may be implemented in

The report Kvicksilver - utredning om ett generellt nationellt förbud
</raw/documents/57015_kvicksilver.pdf> (pdf 413 kB, in Swedish)

Summary </raw/documents/57009_040630Hg_summary.pdf> of the report in English
(pdf, 64 kB)

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