GATINEAU, QC, Nov. 27, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, announced today that the Government of Canada is moving forward with new regulations to protect the environment and safeguard human health by limiting the amount of mercury-containing products in the Canadian marketplace.
The Products Containing Mercury Regulations were published on November 19, 2014. They are the first of their kind in Canada and prohibit the manufacture and importation of most mercury-containing products.
By taking these actions, the Government of Canada is helping to prevent releases of mercury to the environment, which is harmful to human health and to wildlife as it moves up the food chain. Canada has a particular interest in seeing reductions in mercury as many Canadians enjoy wild game as part of their diet. This is important for Canada's North as food from wildlife is a dietary mainstay for people in the Arctic.
These regulations will introduce new limits on the amount of mercury allowed in different types of mercury-containing products to be manufactured and imported. New labelling requirements will also be introduced to inform consumers about the presence of mercury, as well as safe handling procedures and options available for the end-of-life management of these products.
This domestic action builds on Canada's international leadership and commitments to reduce mercury. Given the vast majority of mercury pollution in Canada arrives from foreign sources, in 2013 Canada signed the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which calls for tough measures to reduce emissions of mercury and mercury compounds into the atmosphere.
- Canada has reduced its own mercury emissions by more than 90% in the last 40 years.
- More than 95% of atmospheric mercury deposition in Canada comes from foreign sources.
- The regulations will eliminate about two tonnes of mercury used in products from the Canadian marketplace, on average, each year from 2015 to 2032.
- Over the same time period, these regulations will reduce environmental mercury releases to air by about 4,100 kilograms.
- Mercury in a typical fever thermometer could contaminate the equivalent of five Olympic-sized swimming pools beyond limits for the protection of aquatic life.
"Our Government is moving forward with new measures to protect Canadian families. These regulations will prevent mercury from entering the environment thereby reducing the health risks to Canadians. Our Government will continue to deliver on our longstanding commitment to protect Canada's environment and safeguard the health of Canadians."
– The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council
SOURCE: Environment Canada
For further information: Ted Laking, Director of Communications, Office of the Minister of the Environment, 819-997-1441; Media Relations, Environment Canada, 819-934-8008