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Norway to ban mercury

21 December 2007, 17:12 CET

(OSLO) - Norway will introduce a total ban on the use of mercury in the manufacturing and import and export of products from January 1, the government announced on Friday.

"Mercury is among the most dangerous pollutants. Good alternatives to mercury exist already and it is therefore right to introduce this ban," Environment Minister Erik Solheim said in a statement.

The ban will put Norway ahead of the European Union in restricting mercury. Norway is not a member of the EU which plans to ban mercury in measuring instruments, including thermometers, in the first half of 2009, and on exports of mercury by 2011.

Some European Union countries, including France, already have bans on mercury thermometers.

"The Norwegian ban shows that we're cleaning house. It's an important signal to the EU and other countries to tell them there are good alternatives to mercury," Solheim said.

Mercury is used in dental fillings, among other things.

The metal is not biodegradable and once in the environment turns to methylmercury, its most toxic form. It is also found in the food chain, notably fish.

Text and Picture Copyright 2007 AFP. All other Copyright 2007 EUbusiness Ltd. All rights reserved. This material is intended solely for personal use. Any other reproduction, publication or redistribution of this material without the written agreement of the copyright owner is strictly forbidden and any breach of copyright will be considered actionable.




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