Sweden to ban mercury

Mercury is to be banned in Sweden starting June 1st, environment minister Andreas Carlgren has announced.

Sweden to ban mercury

The ban prohibits products containing the heavy metal from being brought to market in Sweden.

“Mercury is now dead and buried,” Carlgren said.

The actual decision is set to be taken by the government when it meets on Thursday.

In addition to a ban on products containing mercury, the prohibition also means the substance can no longer be used in manufacturing or dentistry.

Certain exceptions will be allowed and the ban won’t come into force for manufacturers until 2013, but the ban will be comprehensive for the most part.

The decision makes Sweden, along with Norway, the country with the most stringent restrictions on mercury.

The ban is the last chapter in a long line of decisions which have reduced the use of mercury in Sweden.

Data from 2003 shows that Swedes use about half a tonne of mercury annually, consisting mainly of batteries, neon tubes and other light sources, as well as mercury alloy.

“Alternative products will be needed, but they are on the way. This is a strong signal to other countries,” said Carlgren.

Mercury waste, of which there is roughly 1,400 tonnes, will be shipped to Germany, the government has decided.