New mercury rules would ban button batteries

OTTAWA, CANADA - The public has until May 12 to comment on proposed federal regulations that would ban most mercury-containing products in Canada.

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq and Environment Minister Peter Kent said the move would eliminate 4.5 tonnes of mercury in products entering the marketplace each year.

“Mercury is a neurotoxin. Ingesting methylmercury can affect the neurodevelopment and learning ability of small children. Keeping products that contain mercury out of the marketplace helps to protect the health of Canadians,” said Aglukkaq.

The products include thermometers, button batteries and measuring instruments such as barometers.

The government, however, will still allow some mercury-containing products to continue to be manufactured and imported, including scientific instruments, dental fillings and compact fluorescent lamps.

Dental fillings, the government background paper explained, are a mixture of metals that do not appear to pose a risk to health and they are inexpensive compared to the alternatives.

The ministers say there will be limits on the amount of mercury allowed in different types of fluorescent lamps.

There will also be improved label information for consumers about the level of mercury in the products and how to safely dispose of them.


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