• Sweden's news in English

Sweden may be forced to lift ban on mercury

TT/Clara Guibourg · 21 Apr 2012, 10:00

Published: 21 Apr 2012 10:00 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

“Frankly I’m incredibly irritated by this. We’re running global negotiations to phase out mercury all over the world. Sweden is very active in these negotiations, with the support of the EU commission. Because it’s a highly dangerous environmental toxin,” Minister for the Environment Lena Ek told Sveriges Radio (SR).

Mercury was banned in Sweden in 2009. The rest of the European Union is trying to move toward a similar ban, but Belgium is blocking a ban, citing the need for mercury in certain measuring instruments, reported SR.

This means that Sweden must now open its market for certain products that contain mercury.

“The fact that the commission is unable to keep it together, that EU regulations are worse than the tough demands we’re making in global negotiations – it’s just crazy,” said Ek.

Sweden is now considering demanding a national exception, by means of EU:s environmental guarantee.

This has been done once before, for the wood preservative creosote.

Story continues below…

“Sweden is going to stand by its ban, so if need be we’ll take the conflict with the commission,” said Ek.

TT/Clara Guibourg (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

11:12 April 21, 2012 by Finnish guy
Don't people in Sweden use (compact) fluorescent lamps? They contain small amounts of mercury...
12:12 April 21, 2012 by Dr. Dillner
Hg is a must in laboratory-grade thermometers! What? they do not teach chemistry in Sweden?
12:26 April 21, 2012 by J Jack
Give way to development, come to Mamma. Can they raise the speed limit to allow for my instrumentation?
13:52 April 21, 2012 by Attestupa
Mercury is one of the 92 stable elements that make up the fabric of the world in which we live, indeed it makes up the fabric of the whole universe that we live in. No one can "phase out mercury all over the world". It's just not possible. What can be done however is to control the use of mercury and its many compounds so that it is not an environmental hazard and yet it can be used for the benefit of mankind in unique and essential applications. We are shooting ourselves in the foot if we begin to eliminate elements from the periodic table. What next ? Arsenic ? Beryllium ? Thallium ? Cadmium ? Chromium ? Lead ? Fluorine ? Cobalt ?
14:07 April 21, 2012 by Keith #5083
There are many ways to 'effect a ban'. A simple law is just one way.

One can, however, install such a maze of bureaucratic red tape covering such things as:

a licence to purchase

a precise record of the geographic location and useage

a licence to dispose,including all necessary fulfillment of miljo regulations.

An annual report as to the condition of the mercury containing instrument,including,if necessary,independant testing and approval.

All the costs for these things being born by the purchaser/owner of the mercury containing instrument.

There is no better way to educate people into finding alternative instrumentation than cost and red tape factors.
16:10 April 21, 2012 by Frobobbles
I love to play with mercury. It makes such funny little balls.
19:49 April 21, 2012 by lighthouse
As "Finnish guy" commented,

Swedish Government already likes CFLs with their mercury

- even though the same Lena Ek talked about the

"Acute Crisis" of dumped CFL mercury recently !! =

02:45 April 22, 2012 by rolfkrohna
No wonder they now call Sweden "NorthKorea of EU", they want to do everything their own way, no respect to anyone else, especially not to their own population.
08:38 April 22, 2012 by Ann-Britt Axelsdotter
Lena Ek shows high levels of hipocrisy. Former Minister for the Environment Andreas Carlgren and representatives from the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control had no problems to order mass inoculation of Pandemrix to stop the swine flu during 2009-2010. Pandemrix contained mercury. Several Ministers, doctors and professors widely declared that injecting mercury was

to be compared to eat fish which in my world is a infantile way to fool the sheeples.

The ban implemented with one hand at same time as the other decides about injecting mercury which is a neuro toxin proves my statement.

Trim ones sails to every wind is typical when it comes to meet the interests behind certain actions. Is it Lena Eks mission to heal some of the damaged caused?
11:00 April 22, 2012 by rumcajs

Mercury is toxic and MOST of NECESARY things made with mercury have also a "safe" way to be made.

All goverments of almost every single country on earth have at some point shown "no respect to anyone else, especially not to their own population" in matters that affect that population in a muuuuch bigger extend than the mercury thing in Sweden and you compare SE with North Korea?
17:00 April 22, 2012 by Lavaux
@ Attestupa

You are wise. You have just succinctly described one of the ways the environmentalists have gone too far. The very idea that a state or consortium of states can selectively ban elements of the periodic table to protect the environment is essentially bizarre because that's where they come from.

So in view of your wisdom, maybe you can tell me if and when this green tyranny will end? They seek to ban carbon even though that's what we're made of, what we emit when we exhale, and what fuels our biological machinery. Do they seek to ban us from existence? I don't get it. Maybe you do.
19:10 April 22, 2012 by BritVik
If Sweden wished to continue with its (half-measure) ban on mercury, then it should do as the French, ignore their rulings. The eurocrats in Brussels are far too big for their euroboots as it is.

As to comparing Sweden with the 'slightly communistic' state of North Korea, then rolfkrohna is perhaps talking out of the back of his neck.
21:42 April 22, 2012 by planet.sweden
Banned? Intriguing, so does anyone know what's in all those Clas Ohlson outdoor termometrars every one sticks on their windows?
00:32 April 23, 2012 by Augusto Aldeghi
I do not want to say anything about Mercury, I do not know the terms of the issue enough to express a well thought off opinion.

What i REALLY REALLY REALLY appreciate is that, sometimes, when a regulation or a a choice required by EU is in clear contrast with national interest and more advanced regulations, the answer is "WHO CARES"
09:42 April 24, 2012 by Marc the Texan
The EU has proven itself to be colossal failed experiment. Sweden would do well to unhitch from the Eureoeos.
Today's headlines
Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Watch this amazing footage of Sweden’s landscapes
A still from the aerial footage of Sweden. Photo: Nate Summer-Cook

The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north.

Sweden could be allowed to keep border controls: EU
Police ID checks at Hyllie station in southern Sweden. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Sweden could be allowed to keep ID controls on its border with Denmark beyond the current end date of November, following discussions among EU leaders in Brussels last night.

Why women in Sweden will work for free by November
File photo of a woman working in a Swedish office. Photo: Anders Willund/TT

A new study into the gender pay gap suggests Sweden still has some work to do.

Look familiar? Meet your jawbone's ancestor
Thank God for evolution, eh?

There's something fishy about the human jawbone – it has its origins in the placodermi, a jowly species of fish that lived 400 million years ago, Swedish and Chinese researchers say.

Isis claims unremarked arson attack in Malmö
The arson attack took place on Norra Grängesbergsgatan in Malmö. File photo: Emil Langvad/TT

An arson attack in Malmö that caused only minor damage and was barely reported in the media has been claimed by terror group Isis.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available