Revision of the Mercury Regulation

EESC opinion: Revision of the Mercury Regulation

Key points

The EESC:

  • welcomes the Commission's proposal which targets the last intentional remaining uses of mercury in the EU, in order to safeguard the health and life of EU citizens and protect the environment;
  • fully endorses the ban on dental amalgam to enter into effect on 1 January 2025 and calls for introducing a strict ban without any exceptions as there are many alternatives which do not contain mercury;
  • considers that phasing out amalgam, with no exceptions, will send an important signal to national healthcare systems to cover only filling materials which do not contain the toxic amalgam;
  • recommends that the Commission identify ways and means of financing safe, environmentally-friendly alternatives so that financial compensation for these alternatives can be incorporated into the rules of individual health insurance companies;
  • points out that in case exceptions to the proposed ban of dental amalgam will remain, it is essential to ensure a level playing field for all parties. Continued manufacture of amalgam within the EU will need to be authorised if dental amalgam remains in use, even if only to a limited extent, so that the competitiveness of EU companies is maintained and measures are taken to ensure oversight of the manufacturing and quality of the amalgam supplied;
  • stresses the importance to involve the whole of society, including health insurance companies if the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability and the Zero Pollution Action Plan are to be successful;
  • recommends that steps be taken to pick up the pace as regards to research into suitable alternatives to mercury-containing products;
  • regrets that no ban has been implemented to date on products deemed essential for civil protection and military uses and which continue to use mercury;
  • calls on the Commission to begin work on banning the manufacturing and use of mercury-containing products for military use at global level. This can help protect the environment and, most importantly, promote world peace.