Canada Limits the Export of Mercury

Canada has amended its Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) and now limits the export of mixtures that contain mercury in concentrations of 95% and higher by weight. The regulation does not affect:

  • Mercury waste and material that can be recycled, both of which are covered in Canada’s Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations
  • Parts that contain mercury
  • Mercury that is used for research, analysis, or as a reference standard

The changes bring Canada into compliance with the Minamata Convention. Sponsored by the United Nations, the convention reflects the global community’s efforts to stem the emission of mercury around the world. The trigger for the agreement is the significant damage done to human health (Minamata disease) that people contract from waste water that contains mercury. A chemical company, Chisso, piped waste water containing mercury into the ocean near the coastal town of Minamata in the mid-1950s.

The Canadian government put mixtures containing mercury on its Export Control List (ECL) as early as January.

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