When toxic mercury lands in the environment it is extremely harmful, and the development of children may be harmed as a result. The Norwegian Minister of Environment and Development, Erik Solheim, has therefore prohibited the use of mercury in products in Norway.
Also the use of mercury in dental materials will be prohibited. “Mercury is among the most dangerous environmental toxins. Satisfactory alternatives to mercury in products are available, and it is therefore fitting to introduce a ban”, the minister said.
The reason for the ban is the risk that mercury from products may constitute in the environment. It is therefore important to stop all use of mercury as far as possible.
The ban will include dental filling materials (amalgam) and measuring instruments, as well as other products. The ban includes all areas of use that are not specifically exempted or are already regulated. The ban will enter into effect on 1. January 2008.
Most mercury released to the environment in Norway comes from sources elsewhere in the world. Norway works actively towards stronger international regulations for mercury, both in the EU and globally.
‘The Norwegian ban shows that we are doing our job at home. It is an important signal to the EU and other countries that there are satisfactory alternatives to mercury”, the minister said.
Exposure to mercury results in permanent development damage to children.
Mercury accumulates in food, especially in fish, and therefore constitutes a threat to fish as a global source of food. Mercury is transported across long distances, far from the sources.
There is too much mercury in the environment in Norway also. Today we advise against eating too much large freshwater fish, and that pregnant women entirely avoid such food.
See ‘Regulation on amending the regulation of 1 June 2004, No. 922, on restrictions on the use of chemicals and other products that endanger health and the environment (product regulation)’.
In Norwegian: Forskrift om endring av forskrift 1. juni 2004 nr. 922 om begrensning i bruk av helse- og miljøfarlige kjemikalier og andre produkter (produktforskriften)
Contact information: Deputy Director General. Anne Beate Tangen
Phone: +47 2224 6033
Fax: +47 2224 9563
Address: The Ministry of the Environment, P.O. Box 8013 Dep, N-0030 Oslo